Giffords' district - one with a significant Republican lean - is currently rated as vulnerable by respected analyst Charlie Cook. For a Democrat in a conservative state, representing a Republican-leaning seat, it is important to stake out moderate stances on controversial issues. That's particularly true on a hot-button issue such as immigration, which is obviously very important to Arizona voters this year.
That's probably the reason Giffords took to the airwaves to make clear that she opposes the boycott favored by some liberals to pressure the state to rescind its new immigration law. This was probably smart politics, but it put her at odds with the liberal grassroots - and with Congressman Raul Grijalva, who was an advocate of the boycott. Worse still, Giffords' border district abuts Congressman Grijalva's and the two share the Tucson media market. It's that market where her ads are airing.
For the grassroots, this is a major offense:
Giffords is looking like the point of the Blue Dog spear being thrust into the House progressive infrastructure. As we pointed out over the weekend, despite Pelosi's efforts to tamp it down, the Blue Dogs are going on the warpath against progressive Democrats, using Henry Waxman's interview with The Hill as an excuse. One thing we can always be sure of inside the Democratic Caucus-- well, two, actually: Blue Dogs will always put self-preservation above the party’s principles, and the DCCC will do whatever it can to help them get re-elected...
When Grijalva took a leadership role in speaking out against SB1070 and called for civic, political and religious organizations not to bring their conventions and conferences to Arizona, it was a defining and courageous political stand. Since then, he has said that economic consequences mean nothing to political ideologues, and he has been actively working with industries to bring business back to the state to help amplify his voice and effect change (www.vivaarizona.org is one such example). Giffords’ attack on his stand and on everyone who joined him in fighting for what is right obfuscates her failure to exhibit meaningful leadership in this fight, and hurts those who did...
Minutes before publishing time I reached Raúl in Tucson and I was surprised to find him in such a determined mood. "I kind of feel like a character in the movie The Expendables, he told me. "In an effort to maintain their presence in Congress, Blue Dogs are throwing progressives under the bus. I find it disheartening and, quite frankly, I am embarrassed as a Democrat. In their effort to be Republicans, Blue Dogs often paint progressives as expendable. They're going to find out that we definitely are not."
Not only was Grijalva exorcised enough at this 'attack' to discuss it with liberal activists, he has now taken to the pages of DailyKos to attack Giffords, and to complain about being 'thrown under the bus.' He's appealing for donations that will be used to advance the 'progressive agenda' - a thinly veiled attack at Members like Giffords.
Discord in the House majority seems to have hit a new level - with moderates and progressives more intent on fighting each other than governing the country.
Cross-posted to Liberty Central