#HD182: Up Arrow For Brian Sims

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PoliticsPA’s anonymous correspondent gives Brian Sims a down arrow because sore loser Babette Josephs is mounting a dead-end primary rematch against him.

It appears as though endorsing candidates against his Democratic colleagues in the House has come back to bite Sims. The Representative he unseated in the 2012 primary, Babette Josephs, has confirmed that she is coming back in 2014 to challenge him. Sims endorsed Jared Solomon over Rep. Mark Cohen and Billy Smith over Rep. Margo Davidson, in their races for reelection. There was some speculation that Cohen recruit Babette to run again, and he declined to comment. Sims narrowly beat her in 2012, becoming the first openly-gay elected representative in Pennsylvania history.

The key thing to understand about Sims is that he could have played it totally safe and cruised to reelection. But instead, he chose to use his power to actually do things, and when you try to do things in politics, you inevitably piss some people off.

If you look at the people who are pissed off at Brian, you see that it’s only people who don’t deserve to be in office anymore.

You have Mark Cohen, who writes 15,000 word Wikipedia entries about himself with more references than Barack Obama’s Wikipedia page, takes the most per-diems ever, and on rare occasions gives enough of a shit to tuck both shirt tails into his pants.

You have Margo Davidson, who sought endorsements from reproductive health and privacy groups and then stabbed them in the back voting for a “TRAP” law straight out of the NRLF bill factory that closed 5 women’s health clinics.

And you have Brendan Boyle, who’s the only candidate not to return campaign donations from the Ironworkers union accused of burning down a Quaker meeting house job site, which is about as old-school Philadelphia machine politician as you can get.

Brian Sims could have chosen not to make waves with these terrible candidates, but he’s actually about building next generation progressive power in southeast Pennsylvania, so he acted on his convictions and endorsed the best candidates in those primaries.

To a certain way of thinking, if he loses this primary he’ll get the biggest Down Arrow of all. The PoliticsPA borg is tacitly saying that the point of holding power is to hang onto power.

But if you think, as I do, that the point of having some power is to do something with it, and advance causes and candidates that you believe in, then dinging somebody for incurring some risk in the course of exercising their power doesn’t make any sense.

This entry was posted in State House.

20 Responses to #HD182: Up Arrow For Brian Sims

  1. YoungPhillyProgressive says:

    I understand exactly why Brian is doing what he’s doing, and unlike others I don’t think it’s because he’s a Democratic Ted Cruz.

    However, the point of getting into elected office is to get things done. If he gets more young progressives elected in Philadelphia (not that Daylin Leach is younger than Brendan Boyle, but who’s counting) and the candidates he endorsed in these races all win, his star will definitely be on the rise and he’ll have some natural allies. That would be a really strong move for Sims.

    It’s not like Solomon would be any more progressive than Mark Cohen, for instance. That’s a choice over style and effectiveness, much the same as the choice was between Babette and Brian 2 years ago. Boyle/Leach is more about style in my opinion as well. Leach is likely the most liberal in that race, but I think probably only on the margins. It’s the difference between an ally and a champion. Although I’d argue that Val Arkoosh and Brendan Boyle would each end up being more effective than Daylin.

    Billy Smith over Margo Davidson is clearly picking a progressive over a conservative Democrat, so that needs less analysis.

    However, if he’s made all these endorsements and he *loses* re-election in the process… what did he accomplish? I’m not advocating power for power’s sake, but in order to affect change you do actually need to wield some power. It’s not like Brian’s been in office for years and is sitting on an unapproachable warchest. He’s a freshman legislator who has effectively $6,000 on hand.

    In order for a politician to, you know, govern, they need to win election.

    Also I promise I’m not Mark Cohen or Babette Josephs…

    • Jon Geeting says:

      This is the sensible critique of what he’s doing, and I agree he’ll be (slightly) worse off if his supported challengers lose. But I respect him for taking the risk, and trying to extend his influence in a practical way. It’s what I would be doing if I were him.

      • David Moscow says:

        And let’s face it, he said he would do this when he ran for office…so, why is anyone surprised? He’s as good as a legislature I’ve seen and hope there will be more like him moving forward.

  2. Ed H. says:

    What’s Sims done? Sure, he’s advocated for the obvious for those in the GLBT community. But he’s done squat otherwise. Babette Joseph’s had 20 some years of pushing forward on many of those same issues. And in fact, blazed the trail for Sims to follow.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      In addition to non-discrimination and marriage equality, Sims has also led on pay equity and judicial elections reform, and has been just as solid of a Democrat as Babette on every other issue.

    • YoungPhillyProgressive says:

      Yeah I can think of more than a few reasons to criticize Rep. Sims for what he’s doing here. That he’s somehow been an underachieving first-term representative in the minority… is not even close to one of them.

      • Ed H. says:

        OK. Of course, he’s now isolating himself from the rest of the party. Energy and a strong work ethic don’t go far in Harrisburg when you have very few wanting to work with you.

        • Jon Geeting says:

          LOL Brian Sims has plenty of people who want to work for him. I know you’re getting paid to concern-troll him, but it’s clear he’s doing fine. Lots of support for this move behind the scenes. Just not with the dead-enders you talk to.

          • Ed H. says:

            I’m getting paid? By who? And after the trolling you do by making up stories you can’t corroborate, then run away from when called on them, I think you’d be smart to worry over your own credibility than mine, dude. Tell me which reps were supportive of his endorsement of challengers. Once the first year is done, there’s no guarantee that even those he’s endorsing will stick by him if the party isolates them too. Your hackery is really desperate, dude. Saying I’m paid by anyone to freely communicate my thoughts on politics is just sad and pathetic of you. Come out with some more potty mouth to show us how you’re so calm, cool and collected while I’m pointing out your inconsistencies. Not too many people read this blog, I’m thinking, so it’s not like it’s even productive for me to post here except for my OCD habit of hating it when people make up stories, like you do, to make themselves feel important, when they clearly aren’t. Maybe some remedial political reading, or some life experiences can bring you up to speed. Maybe not.

          • Jon Geeting says:

            You are the political representative for the Boilermakers. Your organization has an interest in progressive thought leadership in this state thinking about these issues a certain way. I don’t agree with you on these issues, and that’s a problem for you because our blog is more influential than ever, has higher traffic than ever, and there aren’t any other lefty blogs in this state with as much clout as us.

            And now, actual politicians we support are making power moves that threaten the politicians you support, which is probably why you’re here all the time acting extra salty lately.

            I don’t want to block you Ed because we’ve gotten along better in the past but you gotta stop making this stuff personal. We agree on about 90% of the issues. We support the same politicians about 90% of the time. We have a policy disagreement about how competitive the construction labor market in Philadelphia should be, and you wanna drum me out of the party? Let’s keep things in perspective here.

          • Ed H. says:

            Go ahead and block me. It only proves that you’re insecure in your assertions. It’s only personal to you because I’ve shown you have a) gotten some serious facts wrong about how Philly politics works, b) you’ve made up stories out of whole cloth to support your ignorance of those facts and c) are angry because I’ve called you out on this and you’ve not been able to respond. And now your making claims about who I am by using personal information that’s not to be made public? That’s fine. It shows a complete lack of integrity on your part. Let’s remember, that you made your statements public and when questioned on them, you claimed some sort of magic power in knowing about things you weren’t a party to. If you want to support Sims and his self isolation from the rest of the party, get to it. When no one wants to work with him in the future, he’ll only have himself to blame.

          • Jon Geeting says:

            Ed, we both know I wasn’t in any back room conversations between Brady and Doc and Gillespie. But we also both know that this is one big team, and they coordinate on endorsements. Whether Brady ultimately made the call, or Doc did, doesn’t really matter. It’s one big organization which can be loosely thought of as the Philly political machine. What I said was that the various union endorsements coming out for Boyle were timed release, and I’m right about that. They’re all parts of the same organization, and what my readers needed to know was that this is a decision that had been coordinated among Philly’s power players, not made separately and individually. I don’t see why you are denying this.

          • Ed H. says:

            And again, you show your complete ignorance and intentional attempt to mask it by making shit up. The City Committee endorsement was not made for the same reasons the Building Trades meeting was made. But thanks for showing us all you don’t know, while claiming to know how the desperate endorsements were made. And again, nice use of personal information by you in a way that breaks the trust of commenters. Care to let us know who the other half dozen commenters are and what their jobs or titles are?And I’m still waiting for the proof of someone paying me to post on a blog with a few dozen readers…

          • Jon Geeting says:

            I never claimed to have personal access to the meetings that resulted in these endorsements. I simply explained to our readers that Doc and Brady are basically one hive mind, and all they needed to know about the various union endorsements was that they were coordinated. Deny it all you want, but it’s obvious to anyone who follows Philly politics that this was all inevitable once Brady and Doc made the decision to support Boyle. You’re mad because pointing that out minimizes the significance of each individual endorsement for Boyle, as you should be because you have a vested political and financial interest in people believing an alternative storyline.

            I never granted you any pretense of anonymity so just stop with the crocodile tears. Everybody in Philly politics knows who you are, and it’s good for other commenters to know that you have a personal financial stake in the policy arguments you’re pushing on here. If the head of a major natural gas firm was always posting here with his first name and the first initial of his last name, plumping for pro-fracking policies, you better believe I’d out him too.

          • Ed H. says:

            Since Jon Geeting has problems being factual in any way on this blog about any of these issues, and can only make up BS stories and poor guesses that are wrong, let’s set the record straight. I’m not an officer of my union, or paid political operative in any way. I’m on the local’s political action committee strictly as a volunteer, and my opinions expressed here are my own, and not to be considered official for my union or the Philadelphia Building Trades. I wouldn’t directly benefit in any way from the projects having to do with housing or office buildings, as people in other trades would, as my sector of my trade works solely in industrial settings. My intention is solely for doing the right things, and to raise the wages of all working people, as my family has done for over 100 years in the City of Philadelphia as construction workers, shipyard workers and as miners in the anthracite coal regions in Northeastern PA. Jon still hasn’t shown his cards showing the Philadelphia. Building Trades having any kind of monopoly rent seeking, nor has he shown that Philadelphia Building Trades command the same wages as New York City. He has been unable to counter prevailing wages in the Philadelphia regions doing anything but raising wages for our unorganized brothers and sisters, as shown in every part. And as someone who knows all of the people Geeting has made reference to, he knows nothing of the relationships between Congressman Brady, John. Dougherty, Pat Gillespie, or how two very separate endorsements were made, or how they were made for very different reasons. They weren’t made in conjunction of each other. And one of the endorsements was very much keeping with a longstanding rule of thumb one of the people Geeting is slandering has had for some years (it’s far simple the than Geeting could ever imagine). Again, I know generally the different issues at hand. To watch Jon spin it as some sort of conspiracy theory, and admitting he doesn’t know, should tell you about how little regard for facts that Jon holds. He’s admitting he doesn’t know, and yet continues to spin the same lies.
            That said, Jon is even trying to hide his lack of integrity by saying there is no expectation of anonymity, when the blog software allows for usernames to be used instead of given names. It doesn’t hurt me for him to try to make me public. Had he been a man and asked, I’d have been glad to offer my background in the Building Trades. An honorable person would ask a person with the expectation of anonymity if it’s OK before they go and make someone public in such a way, or at least give a heads up before doing so. Since I’m not paid by my union, it’s all good. But, if you’re email address left here is used for any other social media, Jon will use it. He forgot that looking in on someone’s profile means they can get a notification of his snooping. So, a warning to others about the dishonorable way Jon operates if you do have a job that could be harmed from your political beliefs, be wary. Jon won’t give a warning or in any way act as someone might who has integrity.

      • Jon Geeting says:

        Underachieving according to who? What did you expect him to achieve in the minoritiest minority party in decades?

        • YoungPhillyProgressive says:

          No I’m saying he’s not underachieving. Far from it. He surpassed my wildest expectations for him.

  3. Brian Sims is indeed shaking things up in Philadelphia politics. His endorsement of Jared Solomon showed both political courage and leadership. Its time to end old school , good old boy politics. Per diem abuse by Mark Cohen is an indication that Cohen does not respect the taxpayers and voters of his district..Jared Solomon and Brian Sims will be champions for better quality education for every child in Philadelphia.