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Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR)
Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor
Oh, yay, now for the part where prominent Democrats get all irritated and cranky that other Democrats are, gasp, facing consequences for doing terrible no-good things.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s aides met recently with staffers of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to warn them: Targeting vulnerable Democrats like Arkansas’s Mark Pryor on gun control could backfire on the party, several sources told POLITICO.
At issue is Pryor's choice to oppose last month's vote to strengthen the background check system for purchasing guns, an "issue" that is only controversial in the minds of a small fraction of people—most of them conspiracy cranks. Over 70 percent of the voters in Pryor's own state support the measure, rendering Pryor's weak-kneed vote all the more ridiculous, but that doesn't mean we're not all going to get a stern talking to about how bringing any of that up is going to hurt the party.
Senate Democrats point to the example of former Arkansas Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln as a warning. Labor unions, angered by Lincoln’s vote against legislation they backed, helped fund a primary challenger in 2010. Lincoln narrowly won that primary, and then was swamped that November by Republican John Boozman.
Actually, the lesson of Blanche Lincoln's defeat was that nobody liked Blanche Lincoln. Finding a primary challenger to knock her off was, given Lincoln's status as one of the most craven and corporatist Democratic senators on a whole host of issues, the only responsible action to take. That Lincoln fended the effort off only to be predictably crushed in the general election is not, despite the mewing of strategists, a lesson in how no Democrat should ever be challenged once in office. Perhaps the better lesson is to not screw your own voting base on issue after issue over the span of years and expect them to blow sunshine and rainbows your way come election time, but I am not an anonymous Senate Democrat and so probably do not fully understand today's modern sunshine and rainbow-blowing technology.

Pryor, for his part, is unrepentant:

“In today’s world, whether it’s a wealthy donor or a super PAC, sometimes they come in these races and throw a bunch of money around,” Pryor said in an interview. “I think in Arkansas, people know me pretty well, and they know I work very hard to try to listen and be responsive to the state. I’m always going to have people make these political threats.”
Yeah, fine. How dare people blah-blah-blah, I made this decision because the people of Arkansas wanted me to, except for they almost universally didn't, and the fact that they didn't just shows how principled I am for screwing them. Or something; on political self-praise like that it's often a bit difficult to tell where the peacock's feathers end and where its ass begins. (Oh, and there's also some speculation lodged in there that if mean groups attack Pryor for his background check vote, that will make him "dig in further" and not want to support any further background check bills out of spite. This is the "petulant child" theory of politics; see Joe Lieberman for the best-known example of the phenomenon.)

We get some grief when we cite Politico for inside-the-Beltway gossipfests like this one, since politicians are all about gossipfests and pouting and preening and gawd knows they just don't get enough opportunities to anonymously do that in every other media venue. But the pouting and preening gives a fine look into the soulsucking void that is Our Elected Officials At Work, and if we didn't have an unrepentant press there to regurgitate these little squabbles we could only speculate as to what our anonymous betters were thinking—perhaps re-enacting the squabbles with a flock of chickens to add the necessary drama. That just wouldn't be the same, though I won't deny there'd be some satisfaction to be had in eating the chickens afterwards.

Originally posted to Hunter on Tue May 07, 2013 at 11:48 AM PDT.

Also republished by Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), Shut Down the NRA, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Mark Pryor? Screw You! (10+ / 0-)

    You don't get to bitch about Super PACs when they come to bite you in the ass. Grow a pair, and do what's right, not what'll keep the NRA off you.

  •  If Senate Democrats... (11+ / 0-)

    Had passed real filibuster reform we'd already have background checks and the whole argument would be moot.

    "I don't give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it's Hell."

    by Notthemayor on Tue May 07, 2013 at 11:56:37 AM PDT

    •  We still wouldn't... (4+ / 0-)

      ...because the bill would have died in the House.

      Mind you, we still need filibuster reform -- but it's not a panacea, because the Republican controlled House is also a huge problem.  Still, it would be nice to see some pressure on the House when all sorts of popular legislation passes the Senate, thereby forcing them to deal with these issues.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Tue May 07, 2013 at 07:57:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If Democrats were the types to play for keeps (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Notthemayor, cybersaur

        they never would have lost their majority in 2010 in the first place.  

        Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

        by Big River Bandido on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:03:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What should they have done differently (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          starduster, TexasTom

          leading up to 2010?

          I have my own thoughts, many of which center around not ignoring the huge and painful increase in unemployment right after shoveling billions of dollars in bailout money at the very people who caused those jobs to be lost.

          But that's just me.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Wed May 08, 2013 at 02:30:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Just follow through on their campaign promises (0+ / 0-)

            from 2006 and 2008.

            •a huge stimulus (~$4T)
            •climate change legislation
            •immigration reform
            •increase in the minimum wage

            Pretty simple, really.  Had they either enacted those items, or tried to extract a political price from Republicans for obstructing, they wouldn't be in the position they're in now. That's just the beginning, but it's a very significant beginning.  Democrats campaigned on these items, particularly in 2008.  Then they just walked away from them.  

            Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

            by Big River Bandido on Wed May 08, 2013 at 07:25:12 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't remember them promising $4 trillion (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Big River Bandido

              Would have been pretty stupid to do because it would never get through Congress and would have been a disaster of biblical proportions if it had been done as badly as the "stimulus" act that did get passed.

              A proper stimulus -- geared to prod the economy along instead of simply repaying party interests -- would have been a big help for 2010, as well as other acts that signaled a real interest in the plight of unemployed workers.

              ACA soaked up time and interest from things that people cared about more -- AND -- Democrats seemed completely ambivalent to the big tax increase getting ready to hit middle class workers right after the election.

              It didn't help that the economy tanked under Bush, but the subsequent explosion in unemployment came in the early days of the new administration.  I'm still amazed that nobody figured out that the administration could not be seen as not caring about unemployment and hope to do well in 2010.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Wed May 08, 2013 at 07:46:22 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  "Proper stimulus" (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                was my definition, taken from what Paul Krugman and Joseph Stieglitz have both said is about the figure needed to jumpstart a $15T economy.  

                The "stimulus bill" the Congress actually passed was a drop in the bucket by comparison.  $800 billion, half of which was tax cuts targeted toward the very people who didn't need them (and thus wouldn't spend them, thereby creating $0 in stimulus for that $400 billion).  So in the end, a $400 billion "stimulus" package. Not going to amount to a hill of beans in an economy this size.  

                Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

                by Big River Bandido on Wed May 08, 2013 at 07:56:02 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  A proper stimulus is more than a dollar amount (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Big River Bandido

                  The "stimulus" of 2009 was not proper because it was never designed to stimulate anything, not because of the dollar amount. The same dollars applied well would have done more.  
                  More dollars applied well more than that.
                  More dollars applied badly? Who knows.

                  And yes, the actual stimulus effect was a bit less than a hill of beans.

                  LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                  by dinotrac on Wed May 08, 2013 at 08:05:34 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The amount of actual stimulus IS relevant (0+ / 0-)

                    Even an $800 billion stimulus package would not have been enough, and Krugman said so, loudly.  The reason is that stimulus has to be of a size relative to the entire economic output sufficient to actually have impact.  

                    Congressional "Democrats" were cowards in that fight...they shied away from even one trillion in stimulus because it "sounded" bad.  Or at least that's what they said. Their words and deeds since then indicate that, not only were they never committed to stimulus in the first place, but that they either never studied or have rejected Keynesian economic theories.  In either case, it's incompetence.  

                    Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

                    by Big River Bandido on Wed May 08, 2013 at 08:20:49 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Perfect wording. (0+ / 0-)

                      The amount of actual stimulus is relevant, much more so than the total number of dollars spent.

                      The 2009 package was doubly bad -- passed in haste to make a big splash before the new administration understood the magnitude of the problem.

                      By spending a whopping ton of money -- and $800 billion is a whopping ton of money -- on an ineffective package,  they

                      1. Squandered a lot of the money they did spend, and
                      2. Made is damned near impossible to go back for more.

                      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                      by dinotrac on Wed May 08, 2013 at 08:34:11 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

  •  The lesson of Blanche Lincoln (20+ / 0-)

    ... was that the party leadership propped up an unpopular corporatist DINO in place of somebody who might have offered the people of her state a real choice, and she got deservedly clobbered.  Mark Pryor's heading in the same direction.  

    If any PAC is going after Pryor, they'll earn a donation from me.

    If you want to cut Social Security, you're not a real Democrat.

    by Dallasdoc on Tue May 07, 2013 at 11:59:14 AM PDT

    •  Blue Dogs have their place (4+ / 0-)

      IMO, in a 50 state strategy However, this teeny-tiny step of background checks is supported by 90% of Americans. Pryor's vote is textbook cowardice . Hopefully, there will be another vote and Pryor will change his.  

      Still, I'd like to keep the major focus on the dysfunctional  senate (if all 4 dems. who votes against the bill were reversed the outcome would have been the same). How pathetic is that?

      I'm really not equivocating, Pryor needs to step up and uncourageously,  vote against the Gun Manufacturers, aka the NRA.

    •  He is not the same as Blanche (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fenric, TexasTom, jsamuel

      he's been far more cooperative on most issues than she was, and he doesn't go out in the media and trash Democrats or the leadership.  In particular when Blanche was trying to kill EFCA, Pryor was trying find a way to get most of it passed.

      ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

      by James Allen on Tue May 07, 2013 at 12:36:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mark Pryor Did Himself In..... (10+ / 0-)

    So did Mark Begich.  Let them figure their own way out of the mess they created when they voted AGAINST background checks.  It was asking so little.  They both chose to buck what 90% of the country wanted.

  •  If certain Democrats (i.e., Blue Dogs) (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sunspots, Radiowalla, Nada Lemming

    would stop being total dickwads and bringing the party into disrepute, perhaps these groups would feel no need to go after them.

    But you shouldn't be angry, Senator Reid, that these people are being the conscience that you apparently lack. Being a Democrat means that you stand for commonsense, and voting against even the watered-down Toomey-Manchin Amendment means that Senator Pryor doesn't stand for that.

    "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

    by Australian2 on Tue May 07, 2013 at 03:10:08 PM PDT

  •  I have contacted Pryor twice... (5+ / 0-)

    ...and he has yet to reply.  My first email to him (which was before the background check vote) is found below:

    Senator Pryor,

    I understand that Arkansas seems to have moved a little to the right in recent years, so I can understand the need for you to be seen as a moderate. However, you are still a Democrat and you owe it to your fellow Democrats to give your support to our views at some level.

    As a true liberal Democrat, I am against citizen ownership of assault rifles, large capacity magazines, and loopholes that allow people to purchase guns without background checks. I may be able to give you a pass on the first two issues being that this is an election year and you are clearly afraid of the NRA (which is not really a good reason). However, on the issue of closing gun show loopholes and requiring everyone to undergo background checks before purchasing guns, there will be no such pass from me or any of my friends or extended family in Arkansas.

    Do you remember Blanche? She decided to become "Republican light" and oppose the Democratic policies of our Democratic president. She helped Republicans block the public option and she lost her re-election bid by a landslide because neither liberals nor conservatives wanted her in office due to her clear lack of principles.

    If you keep moving in step with the ever-crazier right wing, you are in danger of being "Blanched." Active liberals like me will just sit your election out (like we did with Blanche) and you can hope that you are able to convert enough Republicans to vote for your new "Republican light" brand (good luck with that). However, if you can at least show enough principles to do what we all know is the right thing to do and agree to support universal background checks (with record keeping), liberals like me will support your re-election with money and votes.

    I messaged Blanche about the same thing when she began her rightward move during the healthcare debate. She didn't listen to me. This is really pretty simple... When given a choice between a real Republican and "Republican light", conservatives will always choose the real Republican. When liberals are given that same choice, we will just wait until the next election when we may be able to put a better Democrat on the ticket than our wishy-washy incumbent.

    I am telling you as plainly as I can. Do not block the already watered-down and practically toothless gun reform that is universal background checks or else consider joining the Republican party. You will be finished with liberals in this state if you choose the wrong course.

    He did not not respond. What a coward.
  •  if only we could get this upset (4+ / 0-)

    about things that really matter.

    like, say, chained CPI, unemployment benefits, real economic stimulus. . .unionization of the workforce, deregulation of the commodities trading, banking regulations, progressive tax rates. . .

    •  Gun violence doesn't matter? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laconic Lib, cybersaur
      •  Economic issues are always paramount (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        especially when the country has been in a depression for 5 years.  

        But even if the economy were booming, economic issues are of the utmost importance because of what one's economic view says about their viewpoint on every other issue.  A budget is a moral document:  it expresses the values of the person or institution that creates it.  

        Create a government actually dedicated to a wise and just economic policy, and most of those other common-sense issues (like violent crime) will fall right into place — because the working majority accepts some fundamental precepts about society and the body politic.  

        If we had a Congress willing to pass what is needed economically — about $4-5 trillion in stimulus — passing anti-gun violence measures would be done rather quickly and quietly.  

        Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

        by Big River Bandido on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:10:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Beyond that, the economy has a major effect on (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Big River Bandido

          the mood of the electorate.

          How much easier would it be to make environmental progress if so many people weren't out of work or afraid for their jobs.

          On the one hand, more tax revenue and lower service demand free funds for other things.
          On the other,  people who aren't frightened are often more open to change.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Wed May 08, 2013 at 02:37:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  There's gun violence and there's gun regulation. (0+ / 0-)

        The regulations will, at best, nibble around the edges of gun violence.  The vast majority will go on unabated.

        Doesn't mean the regulations aren't worthwhile, but it's easy to overstate their impact.

        In that sense, it's easy to see other issues as being more important.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Wed May 08, 2013 at 02:35:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Like I've never seen comments... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laconic Lib, conniptionfit

      ...on those other topics!

      We've had lots and lots of upset here over the past few years on several of these subjects, specifically chained CPI, the inadequacy of stimulus proposals, and the weakness of the response in reregulating big finance.

      Don't know how anyone could have missed the zillion diaries and comments on these subjects.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:05:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, I agree. Where is the outrage on any of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      New Minas


  •  Shit like this is why Dems can't get anything done (5+ / 0-)

    I don't see why Democratic leadership is giving cover for conservatives.   This is the same guy that was interviewed for Bill Maher's movie, and said he doesn't think evolution is a scientific fact.  

    What do we need people like this in the party for?

    Watch him make the bullshit claim that scientists haven't quite agreed on if evolution is true, and the story of Adam and Eve might be true.  

    The tent got so big it now stands for nothing.

    by Beelzebud on Tue May 07, 2013 at 07:37:38 PM PDT

  •  Will Pryor be primaried from the left? (0+ / 0-)

    Or in this case from the 'center'?

    •  In this case its from the right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nada Lemming

      72% of people in Arkansas want universal background checks. Given that the bill only extended background checks to the internet and gun shows and not universal this bill was to the right.

      We only think nothing goes without saying.

      by Hamtree on Tue May 07, 2013 at 07:50:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  They miss Rahm Emanuel (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nada Lemming

    ...don't they.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Tue May 07, 2013 at 07:40:06 PM PDT

  •  I have always cut the Red State Dems slack BUT (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radiowalla, Fenric, Laconic Lib, cybersaur

    not anymore.  I am sick and tired of Democrats voting like Republicans.  And if Harry Reid is displeased---  TOUGH!  This was an extremely modest proposal that should have garnered 100% support from Democrats in the Senate!

    •  Sadly, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      a lot of these very same Senators would support that other Modest Proposal -- employing the catfood commission to cut Social Security.

      •  You're absolutely right. (0+ / 0-)

        And you know what, that's not going to cut it with this voter anymore.   These very Senators and their enablers appear to have no principles; They are willing to sacrifice just about anything to assist their wealthy donors and keep their jobs.  Having a D next to their name has no meaning.  That's not good enough for me.      

  •  Fuck Harry Reid (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KJG52, MJB, Fenric, Shahryar, conniptionfit

    If Reid had done the wise thing and fixed the filibuster rules, Pryor might never have even found himself in the position to have to make his rotten vote.

    Reid is useless and his aides should quit whining or find a better Senator to work for.

  •  we know the gop (0+ / 0-)

    is the enemy of democracy but the dems stab america in the back every day and do it with impunity.

  •  Arkansas #4 (0+ / 0-)
    #4, Arkansas
    Gun deaths per 100,000: 15.1
    Permissive gun laws: 7th out of 50
    Deadliest Gun States

    And -- seriously?

    Be sure you put your feet in the right place; then stand firm. ~ Abraham Lincoln

    by noweasels on Tue May 07, 2013 at 07:58:46 PM PDT

  •  Perhaps, Reid could politely ask if it's alright (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Woodrow Stool, starduster

    with the Republicans.
    He's really good at that.

    The Great Awakening Is Afire! Think outside the box or remain mundane.

    by franklyn on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:02:00 PM PDT

  •  I'm conflicted. (0+ / 0-)

    ON the one hand, it seems to me that Bloomberg has only targeted Dems so far.
    I frankly don't trust him and his efforts. I think he's a champion for the concerns of the 1% and Wall Street.
    On the other hand I think Pryor should be punished for his vote. Otherwise we'll never make progress. When I see Bloomberg going after vulnerable gopers then I'll feel better.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:09:59 PM PDT

  •  Isn't it a given, he will lose him to a Republican (0+ / 0-)

    if he doesn't make it? It's Arkansas after all.

  •  If there was a third Corporatist Party... (0+ / 0-)

    ...they'd get trounced every time. That's why Corporatists have to use the Democratic and Republican parties as fronts.

    Get them out of the Democratic Party at least.

    The modern Democrat is one who promotes old GOP ideas and calls them progressive in comparison to new GOP ideas.

    by masswaster on Tue May 07, 2013 at 09:49:29 PM PDT

  •  Gee so like Harry Reid should like (0+ / 0-)

    vote again quick so Mark Pryor can fix his disgusting mess and approve background checks.

    Or Harry Reid should STFU.

    "If you go all day without hitting or biting anyone, it was a good day." Patrick, age 4

    by Meggie on Tue May 07, 2013 at 09:57:11 PM PDT

  •  Does Harry Reid really think Bloomberg gives... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    a damn about the Democratic Party?

    The guy is an independent and was a Republican before that.

    •  Tom Barrett is affiliated with MAIG (0+ / 0-)

      He's the Democrat who lost to right-wing extremist Scott Walker twice because he supports privatizing public education and told a right-wing shock jock how he would strip collective bargaining rights from public-sector unions.

      I listen to Lori Compas, not Pete Peterson!

      by DownstateDemocrat on Tue May 07, 2013 at 10:58:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can anyone explain this logic? (0+ / 0-)

    If "Over 70 percent of the voters in Pryor's own state support the measure, rendering Pryor's weak-kneed vote all the more ridiculous"

    then why would Pryor vote against the bill "that is only controversial in the minds of a small fraction of people—most of them conspiracy cranks"?

    This makes about as much sense as the Giffords opinion piece that stated gun control legislation had overwhelming public support but that cowardly politicians voted against it based on getting re-elected.

    If the public supports something wouldn't voting for it be the politically expedient thing to do?

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