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Republican Pay-Back Time?

by: Teddy Goodson

Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 17:46:57 PM EST

The first week of January 2010 has seen "the tide turn against Democrats" according to pundits and Conventional Wisdom as Senators Dodd and Dorgan and Governor Ritter of Colorado all announce their retirement, not to mention Senator Nelson saying it was a "mistake" for Democrats to go after health care instead of the economy. Put this together with the Democrats' losing the governor's races in Virginia and New Jersey, and the constant cacophony about health care reform, conversion of one (so far) Blue Dog Democratic Representative to the Republican Party, the security lapses evident in the attempt to bomb the  Detroit-bound airplane, problems with closing Guantanamo, an upsurge by al Qaeda in Yemen, a sputtering economy which has seen Wall Street smirking its way to the bank with huge bonuses while Main Street continues to lose jobs---- well, no wonder Fox News is cackling with glee and Politico's  formerly Republican operatives smugly predict, if not a Democratic wipeout, then a serious rout in 2010 and beyond, proclaiming The Elephant Triumphant!

Oh, dear, oh dear:
When in worry, when in doubt,
Run in circles, scream and shout

Teddy Goodson :: Republican Pay-Back Time?
This is the predictable game plan for all those Blue Dogs and Republican-Lite Democrats who themselves have sabotaged every effort by President Obama to fulfill campaign promises.  Besides, it is painfully obvious that Mr. Obama has turned into Republican Lite himself, more often than not, once safely ensconced in the Oval Office, as evidenced by his early announcement of his refusal to consider single payer for national health care, his agreeing to kill the public option and to tax "Cadillac" health plans, his surge in Afghanistan, his continued bailout and pampering of Wall Street's big banks, his appointment of hardline Free Marketeers and outright Republicans to top levels in his administration, his administration's proposed toothless "reforms" of banksters, his condoning of Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy, and so on.... all a kind of pre-emptive surrender to the Inside-the-Beltway Establishment in an apparent effort to 1) short-circuit opposition and/or 2) placate Wall Street and Big Money. So much for Change. So much for Reducing Rancor and restoring balance to our system of checks and balance. Phttt! Gone without even a whimper.

In any case, the caper to ingratiate himself with his enemies has not worked, at least it has not worked if Mr. Obama's intent was a benign (if somewhat naive) reaching a hand out to his opponents. Politics has changed since Reagan, Karl Rove, and Bush junior showed up. Republicans are in permanent campaign mode. At both national and state levels their intent is to prevent Democrats from governing, and their gameplan is working:

It is impossible to govern when the opposition party no longer cooperates in the social contract.

One would think that the American voter would see through these shenanigans, and blame the Republicans for the obstructionist mess in Washington.  One would be wrong, partly because the Democrats have not mounted a counter-offensive of their own; not even President Obama has made a clear case for the Democrats vs. the Republicans. Once again, Democrats have ceded to their opponents the high ground and the right to frame the debate on Republican terms---- over and over. As a consequence, Democrats everywhere are at risk. And so are Democratic values. The American voters gave Democrats both houses of Congress and the White House, but to no avail. Whatever they expected from making this decisive gift, one thing is certain: they believe they did not get it. Promises, promises, ha. Will they ever trust Democrats again? Republicans intend that they should not, and that this brief Democratic spring will be blighted forevermore.

What, so far, has been the instinctive Democratic response? Of course, it is to pull in their heads (a turtle should perhaps replace the donkey as the Democratic party emblem), and move rightward. That is, more Republican Lite is in store for the Democratic platform---- just as the Conventional Wisdom demands, insisting that America is center right. Anything that does not mimic the Republican right wing stance on every problem is "socialism" and must be avoided at all costs.

Sucking up to Republican Lite is a very foolish, self-defeating strategy. The Democrats are in trouble now because of exactly this timid attitude. The Americans who showed up in unprecedented numbers to vote in November 2008 did not, repeat not, vote for same-ol' same-ol'. But that is substantially what they got from a Congress and a President who tip toed around and promptly began giving away the store, seemingly unaware of their mandate. Every time a Republican howled about a Democratic proposal (which was every time even a hint of a proposal was in the offing), Democrats blinked and backed off  

It is my contention that Democrats have squandered their opportunity. They are in trouble now because of a failure to go for real Democratic reforms, substituting instead mild little Republican Lite baby steps. What we have received from Democratic control of the national government is darned little that seriously threatens the status quo, which so heavily favors the corporate Big Money. Had the Democrats acted boldly and ruthlessly from Day One to roll back the Reagan-Bush anti-middle class policies, I guarantee we would have had no more raucous, spiteful, vicious reactions from the Republicans and their Establishment media than we got from the timid Republican Lite baby steps that the Democrats did attempt.... But we would have had something substantive to show for the effort, instead of the obstructionist mish-mash we have now.

Democrats should be Democrats. Democrats do have a clear choice to offer voters, but you'd never know it from the way they conducted themselves over 2009 at the national level. Mincing around to please Blue Dogs or placate Republicans is a waste of time, and a betrayal of the Democratic grassroots. Hey, national Democrats: Come out swinging, go for the jugular.  Had this been the approach, maybe those Obama voters would have come out after all to vote in Virginia and New Jersey last November.  The unacknowledged fact is that they, as a demographic, are more inclined to be left of center rather than right of center, and when they show up at the polls, this fact changes the complexion of the voter rolls from the standard right-leaning attitude of the typically low-turnout election to a more progressive-leaning political opinion. Had they seen movement in their direction at the national level, had the Democrats made their case loudly and openly, there is a good chance that the "Obama Gap" would have disappeared, at least in part.

Oh, yeah, I understand the "facts of life" inside the Beltway, how once the newly elected local guy shows up inside the Beltway, he has to fit into the club if he is to be respected and get anything done.  Also, he (or she) has to find huge amounts of money to run another successful campaign, and only corporations can consistently produce the necessary sums of money, so that the local guy very quickly figures out on which side his bread is buttered. I understand the power of the military-industrial complex, the entrenched political class which really runs everything, the intransigent weight of "that's how we do things here."

We have let this complex inner club or clique talk away the Obama victory, but we did not need to do so. Despite the somnolent Voter, there is a Revolution coming, like it or not, to restore the middle class and clean up the current inability to govern.  A Revolution delayed can only result in a more disruptive revolution later (see Russia 1905 versus 1917-18). The way things are going, the Republicans aim to co-opt the Revolution (see Palin-Beck) and pervert it to the purposes of the corporotists. Surely, the Democrats should be the ones to lead the revolt.... but they cannot do it peddling Republican Lite.  

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And Harold Ford is going to be the next Senator from New York
So watch out for that DLC member, the transplant to New York from Tennessee Ms. Gillibrand. I am for the Public Option, but as Hubert Humphrey-a liberal icon, once said "if the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the Senate is a nice detour." It takes 60 votes to pass something,anything, and sometimes you need to water down things.  That said, back to elction 2010, the Democrats have lost Dodd and Dorgan, and Ritter, at the same time though the GOP continues to eat its own with the resignation of the Florida GOP head, who was an ally of the moderate Charlie Crist, who stood beside Obama. And Michael Steele is on Record of saying the GOP won't retake the House, and then got into a intraparty  squabble with other GOP people who said F-You Mr. Steele we think we can win. If the GOP were to win in 2010 which is oh that's this year, they would be recruiting candidates, instead of playing who's the real conservative. Who do they got, tell me?

I would suggest Teddy, you lay down what exactly you're expecting the slowest institution in the world to do so rapidly, what is your definition, of what the Democrats should stand for, and I'll tell you mine. And we can compare notes. Its not just about raising money, its about Seniority, especially in the Senate, and the revolutionaries that you speak of like Mark Warner, have found they are not the star they should be, but the low man on the totem pole without any real power. Not like when he was large and in charge as Governor. I would caution that when the Republicans took over Congress with the Gingrich Revolution and the Contract with America, every single item on the Contract was passed by the House then killed by the Senate. This slowness is not new or bias to one side. I would also you refrain from agitating violence, with talk of a revolution, especially since the main part of that revolution,which you speak of, was the shooting of the Czar and his family. I think its highly inappropriate to speak of Nationally overthrowing the government, in light of the security breaches surrounding the Obama state Dinner. It sounds like you're actively promoting shouting fire in a crowded theater, without realizing the consequences of what may follow next. Anyhow that's my view. I'm not trying to attack you here, but I vehemently disagree with your view of the world.      

Revolution vs. Evolution
There is no doubt that the Senate (as it is presently organized) is an over-achiever when it comes to fulfilling its Constitutional function of slowing down or cancelling the passing passions of the population as reflected in the House of Representatives.

The Senate seems to have tied itself into knots over the last few years with its various procedures, and, given a minority opposition party that is determined to cancel the ability of the majority party to govern, the senior legislative body is approaching disfunctional, very much like the Roman Senate in the last days of the Roman Republic. Unfortunately, this fact means that even gradual change is stymied.

Heretofore, the American system actually did facilitate revolution by ballot, peacefully even if with a lot of bickering (like the Civil Rights legislation). The system did break down once before into Civil War when one faction refused to permit legislative change.

I am not advocating violent revolution, brian12. I am simply warning that change aborted, change frustrated deliberately for whatever reason can eventually burst out in violence. It dumbfounds me that the Democrats, supposedly the party of The People, are not out in front and leading the desire for change. I believe that the Democrats are in touble now because they have abdicated that populist position, despite having been given a mandate in 2008.

It will be tragedy of historical proportions if Democrats allow the Republicans to co-opt the movement to save the middle class, perverting it to the uses of the corporate elite. What do I want the sluggish Senate to do? Clean up its act, for starters. Republicans have gamed the system far beyond anything the Democrats did, so change the system.  

[ Parent ]
how does he win a Democratic primary in NY?
do not assume people in Harlem and Bed-Stuy would vote for him simply because he is black.  He has no track record in NY, does not have the national name Hillary Clinton did, is not being endorsed by the outgoing Senator whose seat he wants as Moynihan endorsed Hillary.

He may not even be Kirsten G's only primary opponent.  

He is wrong on so many issues as far as NY primary electorate he might even succeed in pushing people like the Carolyns (Maloney and McCarthy) who were upset with Patterson's appointment of Gillibrand to actively support her.

This is my world and welcome to it

[ Parent ]
tend to agree...
with teacherken here.  I am somewhat surprised that Ford thinks he should run there.  Even the most conservative area of the state (Watertown and St. Lawrence County) wanted more progressiveness than he offers.  So, while I did a double take when this news arose, I am not overly concerned that NY will go any more blue dog than it has been (assuming Clinton, of the DLC herself, is one).  Ford would be another big step further to the "right."

"One person, one vote" died at the hands of SCOTUS, January 21, 2010

[ Parent ]
that was a yah right and pigs will fly when you throw them statement
for Ford.

For Teddy:

I'm not sure. The internet is a politicos dream come true, because its made for ranting, and where I was reading your post, you seemed to mock the institution that works, and then you talk about the middle class revolution that is coming, if it doesn't come peacefully it'll be violent, then you name a Revolution started by killing the heads of state. What am I suppose to think. The Civil Rights Legislation was not by ballot. President Kennedy gave Congress legislation and could not get it passed. It took Johnson to pass it. It wasn't voted on by the 50 states, just like the same sex marriage act in DC was not done by ballot.

Further, I think you need to look at your revolution, the people wanted change from Bush, they voted like they wanted a revolution, but they haven't acted since then like they are revolting.  The high percentage of people that believed in Global Warming and health care reform in 2008, is down drastically.We are the nation of short attention spans. Further, I have read that people who remembered the Progressive Movement did not want to relive it exactly like that.  And a lot of people are still alive who can remember the anarchic 60s and early 70s, and probably don't want that type of change.  I have to agree with Elaine on why change isn't happening fast enough.  

[ Parent ]
The first attempt
at serious change in old Russia (the Duma Revolution, post-Russo-Japanese War) did not "start with killing the heads of state." (Actually, it was the peasants and workers who came to petition the Tsar and were ridden down and killed by Cossaks). Neither did the Octobrist Revolution begin with the slaughter of the imperial family. Tsar Nicholas and family were killed after the Revolution began. My point, exactly: repeated frustration and betrayal of the urge for change creates a pressure-cooker that often explodes. It is an unusually wise elite which reduces the pressure incrementally, yielding a little of their power to save themselves over time.

[ Parent ]
The Senate IsThe Problem
The Senate - always the place where the founders deliberately wanted to put the brakes on the House of Representatives - will remain that way unless there are changes in the way it operates.

I realize that it is impossible to get away from that constitutional quirk that gives the people in North Dakota the same Senate representation as California. No one would ever get enough states to vote for an amendment to change that.

However, the stupid filibuster and the rule that allows any one senator to keep a nomination from coming to the floor could be scrapped. As long as those rules are in place, the Senate will remain a place where it is ridiculously difficult to pass legislation or get nominations approved.

The filibuster has been changed before...making the vote needed to end debate 60 instead of the previous 67. That needs to become 55, or even better the filibuster should be what it originally was - a senator forced to speak continuously or give up the floor.

(Term limits aren't a bad idea, either, but that would again require amending the Constitution.)

No term limits

Filibuster is also important though it should be brought back to its original form.

Repealing of the 17th amendment might be a good idea though.

[ Parent ]
And what is our collective wisdom here
as compared to the Conventional Wisdom? I refer to the thesis presented in this diary, i.e., that Democrats are apparently in trouble in 2010 basically because they ran a successful Presidential campaign promising some fundamental populist changes, and then, once in office, backed off and delivered watered-down, mangled "change" conforming not to populism but to Blue Dog and Republican Lite formulae. Moreover, the national Democratic leadership misread the disappointing electoral results in 2009, accepting the Republican interpretation, i.e., that the Obama "change" was rejected by the voters in 2009, and the gutless Dem leadership therefore will think that Democrats must move to the right and deliver even more Republican Lite policies---- when what they should do is fulfill the original promise of populist change.

This Democratic attempt to become even more Republican Lite is a sucker bid; whenever voters are given a choice between Republican Lite and the real article, they invariably choose the real article.  

Club for Growth, taking out Republican Bennett
So that's the word from the Hill, which means the obituary of the Democrats in Congress is greatly exaggerated.
I also think there's a lesson for becoming Republican-Lite and that lesson is we're a Party of inclusiveness. So that might be a good thing. And Teddy, if this election holds for the Democrats,we're talking about a generation of Democratic Party leadership to get the things you cherish, accomplished. As John F. Kennedy it won't be done right away but let us begin. Pragmatism for the future of the country.  

[ Parent ]
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