Skip to comments.Moran Urged Not To Run - Hit by (own)Democrats for Anti-Semitic Remarks (FINALLY!)
Posted on 03/13/2003 6:22:51 AM PST by pittsburgh gop guy
In a letter to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman (Calif.), Martin Frost (Texas), Tom Lantos (Calif.), Sander Levin (Mich.), Ben Cardin (Md.) and Nita Lowey (N.Y.) wrote that they "cannot and will not support" Morans candidacy in 2004. Both Frost and Lowey formerly headed the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the organization charged with protecting incumbents.
"We hope that as Jim reflects on his actions, he will decide not to seek re-election to the House of Representatives," the group wrote.
Moran insisted Wednesday afternoon that he plans to stay and fight.
The letter to Pelosi was the latest blow to the Northern Virginia lawmaker, who has come under considerable fire from the leadership of both parties, as well as the White House, in the wake of his controversial comments regarding Jewish influence on U.S. policy toward Iraq.
In remarks at a March 3 anti-war forum in Reston, Moran suggested that the imminent war with Iraq is the result of prodding from the Jewish community. He has since apologized for the remarks, which he said were taken out of context and part of a broader point.
In an interview Wednesday, Virginia state Sen. Leslie Byrne (D), a former House Member, said she is being strongly encouraged to run against Moran in light of the maelstrom of controversy.
"Ive told them that I will think about it and make a decision by this summer," Byrne said, referring to those people who have approached her about running.
"Having served in Congress, I dont go into this with any starry-eyed notions," she added.
Byrne said she considered running against Moran last year, but decided the time was not right for her personally. The 56-year-old lawmaker is currently facing a crossroads in her political future since legislative redistricting has pitted her against another female Democrat, if she chooses to seek re-election to the state Senate this fall.
For now though, Byrne, who served one term in the House from 1992 to 1994, said she is weighing "whether I want that kind of rough and tumble Democratic Party bloodletting," something she acknowledged a battle against Moran would be.
"Everybody who knows Jim knows that hes a very combative person," Byrne said. "Its not going to be a pleasant process."
Undeterred by the letter, Moran said Wednesday that he is running for re-election "more so than ever" and that he fully expects primary competition next year.
"Im not going to be intimidated," Moran said. "Its unhealthy for the American political process for any group within our society to be able to decide who should and
shouldnt represent a constituency."
Moran predicted that there will be millions of dollars spent to defeat him but he said that will only make him work harder. He reiterated that he feels hes being treated unfairly and that his comments are being taken out of context.
Political observers are already drawing parallels between Moran and former Reps. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) and Earl Hilliard
(D-Ala.), both of whom were defeated in primaries last year where their opponents were heavily financed by pro-Israel interests.
However, the success of any potential primary challenge against Moran is likely to hinge on how district party leaders decide to choose the partys nominee.
In Virginia, party leaders in each Congressional district determine whether to select their nominee by primary or convention. Morans vulnerability would be notably higher in a primary, because the state does not require voters to register by party. And since Moran and his supporters are deeply entrenched in the districts party apparatus, choosing an open primary would seem even more unlikely.
In Georgia, which has a similar open primary system, many of McKinneys supporters blamed crossover Republican voters in part for her defeat.
Democrats are watching closely to see what, if anything, Gov. Mark Warner (D) does to try to thwart a Moran primary challenge. A Warner spokesman said this week that the governor found the remarks "offensive" but was glad Moran had apologized.
Last week, Warner named Mame Reiley to head his Political Action Committee. Reiley, a Democratic National Committeewoman, once served as chief of staff to Moran and remains deeply involved in 8th district politics.
In light of Morans most recent controversy, the names of a handful of other potential Democratic challengers have also surfaced.
Besides Byrne, Fairfax County Board Chairwoman Kate Hanley (D) and former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer (D) are both mentioned as potentially strong Democratic opponents in the 8th.
After serving eight years as lieutenant governor, Beyer was defeated in a 1997 gubernatorial bid and has since kept a low profile. But sources said that Beyer, who operates a chain of car dealerships in Northern Virginia, has recently been eyeing a political comeback.
House Republicans, meanwhile, pressed the Democratic leadership to take measures beyond discouraging Moran from seeking re-election.
Chief Deputy Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who is Jewish, said in a statement that Democrats should remove Moran from the powerful Appropriations and Budget committees. Moran currently serves as the ranking member on the legislative branch Appropriations subcommittee.
"The Democratic leadership must re-examine Rep. Morans influence in his Caucus and reassign him to positions and committees that limit the damage his beliefs can do," Cantor said.
National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.), who also serves as co-chairman of the House Republican Caucus on Israel, also called on Democrats to take immediate action to address the Moran controversy.
Politically though, Reynolds acknowledged that the Virginia Congressman is not likely to be a top target for Republicans next year, noting there are more winnable seats to focus on.
"It is not a competitive seat," Reynolds said. "It is a very difficult seat to win."
The strength of the Democratic-leaning district was further reinforced during the 2001 redistricting process, during which the GOP-controlled state Legislature sought to protect incumbents. In the 2000 presidential election, then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush would have won only 38 percent in the 8th.
Moran has a long history of physical and ethical scrapes that have produced public relations disasters. So far, he has been resilient enough to survive them.
Last year, The Washington Post revealed that he took a $447,000 loan from a credit card company just before he signed on to bankruptcy legislation that the company was supporting. He was also forced to return a $25,000 loan to former health care lobbyist Terry Lierman; although Moran and Lierman are old friends, the Post reported in 2000 that Moran sponsored legislation that one of Liermans pharmaceutical company clients favored.
Lierman was then challenging then-Rep. Connie Morella (R-Md.), and the revelations contributed to his defeat.
In a widely reported incident in 2000, Moran angrily grabbed an 8-year-old boy in an Alexandria parking lot after he claimed that the boy had threatened him. The incident had racial overtones because the boy was black.
Moran also had noisy altercations with his wife while they were in the process of getting a divorce, and he also got into a shoving match with Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.) on the House floor in 1995.
But Morans political problems predate his Congressional career, which began in 1991.
During his 1990 election against then-Rep. Stan Parris (R), Moran, then the mayor of Alexandria, said he wanted to break the incumbents nose and called him "a deceitful, fatuous jerk."
In 1984, Moran was forced to resign as vice mayor after pleading no contest to a conflict of interest charge.
The letter from Morans colleagues to Pelosi stands in contrast to another letter that 11 Jewish Members wrote in his defense last fall. Then, Moran was one of a handful of Congressional candidates who had received and returned campaign contributions from the leader of an American Muslin organization who had expressed his support for the extremist Hamas and Hezbollah organizations.
Moran hasnt necessarily won any friends in the Senate either.
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), who is Jewish, pointedly declined to say whether Moran should seek re-election.
"I was appalled by Representative Morans remarks, and you can draw whatever conclusion you want from that," Feingold said Wednesday.
Erin P. Billings, Paul Kane and Josh Kurtz contributed to this report.
The GOP leadership wanted to get rid of Lott
On every thread dealing with Moran and his comments I first go check the "Time" web site. This is because "Time" put out a cover story with Trent Lott's mug on the front provclaiming "Whitewashing the Past". The article basically called the GOP and the whole South rascist and that Trent Lott should resign. I am now still reporting that "Time" has yet to mention a word about Moran's anti-semitic comments. "Whitewashing" indeed...
So what's their point? They get a few senior (but not in the official House leadership) Rats to issue a condemnation of Moran way before the 2004 election. They can now expect that the story will go away, based on media behavior in past similar episodes.
All they've done here is set themselves up to be able to land on whichever side of the issue plays best with the public, once the election season really heats up. If the polls show that Moran isn't too badly damaged at election time, they can count on this statement being flushed down the memory hole by their willing media sycophants.
And EX-congressmen McKinney and Hilliard are sitting at home as we speak. Moran is toast.
I almost dropped my expensive teeth last evening when the NBC Nightly News did a story on this. Brokaw read the story, complete with his quotes and the actions of the Dems that urged him not to "re-up." Story ran about 25 seconds and came 19 minutes into the newscast. I doubt if ABC or See BS ran anything on it.
Of those three, NBC is always the most likely to air a story critical of a Dem. They don't do it often, of course, but the other two NEVER do.
So I used his weblink here to send the following message to his staff:
Dear Gov. Warner,
It is time you made a statement about the anti-Jewish hate speech of Congressman Jim Moran, your fellow Democrat.
If a Republican had said this, there would be a national outcry with hourly updates from the liberal media.
Your refusal to comment on this issue makes some suspect that there is institutional racism in the Democrat party.
Are you anti-Semitic?