Himes Email Angers Supporters

Jim Himes recently sent out an update-to-constituents email that has a lot of his supporters fuming. Jon Kantrowitz at My Left Nutmeg has a lengthy post up about it. Here’s the offending piece of the email:

It is clear that the next several years will be the economic equivalent of threading a needle. While we address the massive unfunded liabilities associated with Social Security and Medicare (now well in excess of $50 trillion), we will need to identify the moment at which our nascent recovery is self-sustaining and put on the brakes. If we are to avoid inflation, interest rates will need to go up and government spending will need to go down. Both of those things will be enormously unpopular, but the Federal Reserve and the Congress will need to remember that inflation is far more damaging.

Progressive Democrats are looking at this as a betrayal, mainly because, as national blogger Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake points out, the numbers that Himes is using come from a conservative billionaire who is apparently creating worst-case scenarios in order to scare legislators into, among other things, cutting back on Social Security benefits. Himes is also promoting pay-as-you-go legislation, which many progressives feel can be misused to block the Obama legislative agenda.

In essence, they see Himes talking like a conservative Blue Dog Democrat. Jon Kantrowitz writes:

I guess you are really worried about being re-elected. But this is not why I voted for you (and contributed generously to your campaign.)

The thing is that Himes shouldn’t be worried about re-election, as Kantrowitz accuses. The shifting demographics of the 4th district favor Democrats, and he should be able to raise enough money to ward off any potential challengers. John McKinney will likely be his opponent, but is he that much of a threat?

Himes actually wrote a response in the comments that seemed partly well-measured and partly testy, but I don’t think that his critics are appeased. Hamsher continued to press him, criticizing his response.

Why does this matter for Himes? Well, these are the people who enthusiastically volunteered, contributed and even helped to run his campaign against Chris Shays. He can’t afford to alienate them. It’ll be interesting to see how he continues to handle this issue.

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7 responses to “Himes Email Angers Supporters

  1. Oh my, pay as you go legislation, how could he? How dare we not spend money we dont have? How dare we not continue to run up the deficit when the country is nearly broke? Outrageous.

    Give me a break, the progressive agenda….what is that, spending trillions we dont have? Increasing the size of government to unseen proportions? Creating new federal entitlements we can afford? Yes that sums it up I guess.

    In ones personal financial life the ype of spending the government is doing would be considered reckless and stupid. Why? Because it is.

  2. PAY AS YOU GO LEGISLATION?!!!!

    POINTING OUT $50 TRILLION IN UNFUNDED LIABILITIES BROUGHT ON BY OUR GOVERNMENT?!!!?!

    LETS CRUCIFY THIS MAN FOR TALKING COMMON SENSE !!! THIS CANNOT BE ALLOWED, WHAT A SNAKE ! WHAT A…..guy who is actually talking about doing the job he was elected to do….. unless of course you elected him thinking you or your state could get a bunch of government goodies at the expense of other people.

    And kudos to him for discussing inflation, i.e. the means of a government to pay off all their campaign promises by increasing the amount you need to live a decent life and devaluing your currency every single year. Just because none of you understand the true impact it will have doesn’t mean you should attack this guy.

  3. primusinterpares

    Blue Dog Dems are philosophically old school New England Republicans (ie Shays). In my opinion education breeds moderation. Looks like Himes isn’t as liberal as people (mostly outside the district) hoped. The fact is that no left wing democrat will win the 4th for a long time if ever. It is a moderate district and as the old school new england republican philosophies are absorbed by the blue dog coalition, if it does remain blue it will be blue dog territory.

  4. The children of the revolution now grown to manhood eating their own.

  5. Genghis, think you oversold the lead here. A few lefty bloggers don’t like the debt numbers in a fundraising e-mail? Seems like a complete non-story.

  6. Well here’s one Democrat for whom such remarks would be much more likely to engender support (even though I don’t live in the 4th).

  7. johningreenwich

    I’ m confident that Jim Himes’ votes will not dissapoint left wing Democrats. He certainly is smart enough to know better, the question is can he defy his party and actually vote for some restaint – vote with Republicans. He was fiercly partisan as head of the DTC in Greenwich, so I don’t hold out much hope. We had a congressman that was known nationally, we don’t anymore, so what he says doesn’t really matter much. Follow the votes Democrats before you cry foul. With any luck, he’ll make you proud and follow the party down the toilet and in 2011 you’ll be able to complain about Congressman McKinney.

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