Posts Tagged ‘Blue Dog Democrat’

Kudos for Donnelly: Opposition to Peruvian free trade pact

March 24, 2008

Charlotte Weybright, writing for Berry Street Beacon, offers Rep. Joe Donnelly praise for his opposition to a free trade agreement with Peru:

The United States spent two years in negotiations with Peru to settle terms of yet another free-trade agreement. These agreements have consistently been pro-corporation and pro-big business and anti-American worker. Yet our government – the President and the Congress – continue to ignore the needs of American workers in search of countries that may be exploited through the use of “Democracy-building” agreements based on our capitalistic economic system.


In the House of Representatives, the Indiana breakdown was two opposing, five in favor, and two no votes. The two courageous Democrats not supporting the agreement were Joe Donnelly and Pete Visclosky. Souder, Burton, and Pence voted in favor, which could be expected. Carson and Buyer did not vote. Of course, this would have been during the final days of Julia Carson’s illness, so we can understand why she didn’t vote. But Ellsworth and Hill – two more newly elected Democrats? Both voted for the Agreement.

All four Democrats capable of voting should have voted against this free trade agreement, but they didn’t. And on December 14, 2007, the United States – Peru Free Trade Agreement was signed into law by the president.

So yet another free-trade agreement comes into existence. Aren’t our elected officials hearing the pain of the American worker? Or is their fear of losing campaign contributions so great that they will ignore their own constituencies in promoting democracy-building throughout the world.


More on Donnelly’s votes against his own party

March 18, 2008

The Washington Post has compiled a database of Donnelly’s votes against his own party available here.

Look for an analysis of this lengthy list in the near future from Donnelly Watch.

Donnelly joins with GOP on surveillance vote

March 2, 2008

(The following piece ran on Feb. 28 in the South Bend Tribune. Emphasis in the text below by DW.)

by Nancy Sulok

Congressman Joe Donnelly, D-Granger, was one of seven Democrats and 191 Republicans who voted Tuesday to allow a vote on a Senate bill concerning surveillance of suspected terrorists.

The effort failed, however, with 212 Democratic votes against it.

The vote would have allowed the House to vote on a resolution to extend the Protect America Act, which is part of the larger Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Congress is negotiating for a new FISA, which became law in 1978, but Democrats and Republicans have failed to come to an agreement on it.

Donnelly voted on Feb. 13 to extend the Protect America Act for 21 days to allow more time to resolve the conflicts. The Protect America provision, passed last August, expired Feb. 16.The controversial measure provides for warrantless searches and surveillance, including wiretaps, of suspected terrorists. Since it expired, surveillance can continue, but only with a warrant from a FISA judge.

After Tuesday’s vote, Defense of Democracies issued a press release praising Donnelly for his vote. Defense of Democracies has been running a television ad in the South Bend market that urges constituents to contact Donnelly and ask him to push for passage of the bill.

Congressman chats with residents

February 13, 2008

From the Goshen News:


[Donnelly Watch comments in Red]

Illegal immigration, energy independence, jobs and the War in Iraq were the biggest concerns local residents raised with Congressman Joe Donnelly, D-IN, during his “Congress on your Corner” session at Martin’s Supermarket in Goshen Sunday afternoon.

Dixie Robinson, city councilwoman for Goshen’s 2nd District, was among the first to broach the issue of illegal immigration, which dominated much of the discussion. She commented that local government argues that it is a federal problem and the federal government underenforces its own policies. Donnelly concurred regarding the federal level.

“It seems as though everybody has got their act together except for the federal guys,” Donnelly said, adding that in 2005 there were only three enforcement cases, “which is effectively zero enforcement.”

Donnelly has been a vocal supporter of the SAVE Act, a “three-part plan to drastically reduce illegal immigration by securing our borders, requiring employer verification of prospective employees’ legal status, and bolstering resources needed for enforcement of our immigration laws,” according to a statement released by his office Wednesday. He also confirmed for one attendee that Indiana only employs four ICE agents.

Other issues raised by attendees with regard to the immigration problem were drunk drivers, unlicensed drivers, crowded post offices on Friday afternoons due to Hispanics sending money home, the flooding of the job market with workers and an increase in signs written in Spanish.

[Ok, so immigration is definitely an important issue. But Donnelly’s one-dimensional ‘enforcement’ position reduces immigration to an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality and ignores the larger, quite complex factors at play. Donnelly’s inability (or unwillingness) to stand for principles of human rights and speak to the reality of gross international economic inequality as a primary element to this whole issue is indicative of his overall behavior as our Congressman thus far.]

The importance of energy independence also drew many comments. According to Donnelly, the biggest problems with the United States’ current situation are the exporting of oil from Alaska to Japan and the oil industry’s connection with the Middle East.

“We’re paying for our own war effort, then turning to Saudi sheiks and buying their oil. It’s like we’re funding both sides,” he said.

[I guess the above statement attributed to Donnelly constitutes this articles coverage of the discussion of the Iraq War. What about Donnelly’s votes in regard to the War in Iraq?]

Donnelly suggested several options to begin the trek to energy independence, commenting on his publicly stated position that the United States should be drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Pointing to the future, he explained that five years from now, ethanol will be manufactured from corn stalks alone, allowing the actual corn to be used for its original purposes and bringing the cost of grain back down.

[Joe, biofuels (or more accurately agro-fuels) are not a sustainable solution. Carbon emissions are a major problem and trying to switch one industrialized, privately-held, and centralized fuel source for another isn’t going to help us make the cultural changes so vital to our long-term survival as a species.]

Although attendance was initially light, 14 people had joined the discussion before its end.

“I thought it was great to have someone sit down with you and listen to your problems,” Robinson said.

When asked why he chose to hold a “Congress on your Corner” session in a location outside of his district, Donnelly stated his desire to ensure the ability of all his constituents to have access to him in order to express their concerns.

“More than anything, it’s about bringing the office to Goshen to hear the people and help work on their problems,” he said.

Tony Zirkle, the creative candidate

February 9, 2008

From Progressives, South Bend

by Don Wheeler

I noted with some interest a “Brief” which appeared in the South Bend Tribune. As is often the case, I think they missed the point.

It’s short, so I’ll reprint it:

Zirkle to provide free consultation
— South Bend

Tony Zirkle, a Republican candidate for Indiana’s 2nd district Congress seat, will open his law office on Sunday to provide free 10-minute legal consultations for anyone seeking to a suspended Indiana driver’s license reinstated.

Zirkle’s law office is at 110 N. Main St. The offer is open to any resident of Indiana’s 2nd District. The office will be open from 8am to noon and from 1 to 5pm. To make an appointment call (574) 968-8557. If demand is great, Zirkle will extend the service on future Sundays.

“I’ll tell them what they need to do to get their license validated again, ” Zirkle said. Cases involving driver’s license issues make up 10 to 15 percent of Zirkle’s practice, but he said he isn’t offering the consultations to attract more clients. “I can refer them out. I’m not doing this to get business,” he said.


Notice who is eligible? Any resident of the 2nd Congressional District. What is the jurisdiction Mr. Zirkle seeks to represent? The 2nd Congressional District.

I don’t think the problem here is that Mr. Zirkle is trying to drum up business. Actually, this seems to be a quite legitimate way to try to drum up business.

No…buying votes is what comes to mind – or something like it.

Just me thinking out loud.

Democracy is not a spectator sport.

Murtha links pullout to war funding bill

February 8, 2008

From the Associated Press/USA Today

Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said Thursday that he is preparing legislation that would give President Bush the war funding he wants this year, but on the condition that troops leave Iraq by the end of December.

Murtha, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, said he’ll ask for a March vote on a bill that also would require that troops be fully trained and equipped when deployed.

Similar bills won House approval last year only to fail in the Senate, where Democrats hold a narrower margin of control and 60 votes are needed to overcome procedural hurdles.

Murtha said he’s confident his bill will pass the House, but he’s not sure about the Senate. Bush has requested about $189 billion for operation/s in Iraq and Afghanistan. Congress has approved $87 billion.


Is there any question as to how Congressman Donnelly is likely to vote on such a war funding bill?

How will citizens of the 2nd district respond to the prospects for (yet another) war funding bill coming before the House of Representatives?

More comments on Donnelly’s re-election

February 4, 2008

A couple of comments from a thread at

Anyways, Joe will win. Repubs will vote for him because he’s GOP light, Dems will vote for him because he’s not as bad as he could be. Unless someone unseats him in the primary, which is unlikely. I still wish Francis had won. He would have been an excellent congressman.

I agree that Donnelly will win in Nov. and has no credible challenger in either party. He disappoints me a bit in that he has done little, even for a freshman congresscritter, for the district when he is a swing vote for the Democrats. You would think he might have managed something for us beyond the almost assured continuation of HumVee production.

And some more comments on the prospects of Tony Zirkle from SBF, this time from a thread entitled “Please Tell Me The Local Republican Party Can Do Better.”