I am not a big fan of Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA-4/12). My archives here are clear about that. His voting record probably is a decent match for his district, although I think there is probably a little bit more wiggle room there than his votes indicated. My biggest problem with Altmire is that he has been a political weasel and that weaselling and chiselling has cost him his allies.
2011 saw several generally Democratically aligned outside interest groups start taking shots at Altmire:
Altmire is a douchebag, there is minimal dispute there. If there is a barely contentious issue that polarizes on partisan lines, expect him to vote with 98% of the Republicans. It is what he has always done....
Knocking out a theoretically partisan friend who has consistently voted against your desired policy outcomes induces fear and increases compliance with a policy agenda, and thus a $350K drop by nominally Democratic leaning group against a Democratic incumbent makes a good deal of sense.
Altmire lost the Democratic primary for the new PA-12 seat last night to Representative Critz (D-Cambria County). Critz's voting record is not that much better from my perspective than Altmire. However, Critz had allies and friends that are well to the left of him helping him in the primary. Altmire had managed to douchebag, dissemble and hippy punch all of his door knockers away from his campaign. The unions backed Critz heavily because they had not been betrayed by Critz on EFCA or other high priorities. Altmire had promised unions that he would vote for EFCA and then ran away from that position as soon as there was any Chamber of Commerce opposition or fundraising opportunities.
Maybe it is becuase I am not a politician, but this behavioral pattern does not make a ton of sense to me. Needlessly pissing off allies in pursuit of votes/cash from people who really don't like you gains neither votes nor friends. John Cole asks this same question about Joe Manchin's wisdom or lack thereof in seeing politics as an individual sport:
I�m basically just stumped as to where Manchin is on the stupid/evil axis. Considering he doesn�t think politics is a team sport (I hope his campaign staff and volunteers don�t hear that) and he�s sponsored several bills he clearly doesn�t understand, there is ample evidence for the stupid side
I don't get it because at any level above school board elections, once we assume reasonably competent candidates, individual policy positioning only does so much, and party/partisan trends tend to swamp individual candidate quality. Being a reasonably decent team member to gain the benefits of cooperation seems to me to be a much stronger self-serving interest than being a douchebag.