Being Fair To Democrats

Find your Senators, and give them a ring about how you oppose this torture bill. It is particularly useful for Democrats to remember where the majority of their own party stands on an issue.

Progressives like to pride ousrselves on being fair to people. We pride ourselves on keeping an open mind, and not rushing to judgment. We pride ourelves on working for a better world. We certainly pride ourselves on not stereotyping entire groups of people based on the actions of a few people who belong to that group (such as, say labeling all Latinos as illegals or labeling all Muslims terrorists). Considering this, it never ceases to frustrate me how progressives frequently show none of these positives attributes when it comes to talking about the Democratic Party.

Many progressives habitually argue that the Democratic Party is complicit with a wide range of right-wing legislation, even though the majority--usually the vast majority--of the Democratic Party was opposed to, worked against, and voted against that legislation. Here are some examples from the 109th Senate: I am not sure if there has been a single issue in the Senate over the past four years where the majority of Senate Democrats did not side with the progressive position and opposed the Republican majority. Would it have been better if all Senate Democrats had stood united on all of these issues and stopped any one them from passing? Obviously. But to characterize an entire party because of the actions taken by a minority in that party is simply unfair. In fact, it is not only unfair, it is blatant stereotyping, lazy thinking, and flat un-progressive to label an entire group because of actions taken by a minority of members in the group.

However, that is exactly what we repeatedly see from a wide range of progressives. We hear that Democrats are complicit with Republican policies because a minority of Democrats are complicit with some of those policies. I have heard that accussation form multiple sources when it comes to every piece of legislation I listed above. We are hearing it again on the torture bill, which is a terrible bill, but which many Democrats, if not most, are speaking out against. Yet I am sure we will continue to hear form many "progressives" that Democrats in general are summed up by the actions taken by a minority of Democrats. Just like, I suppose, how African-Americans are all criminals because some of them are.

Progressives need to be fair to Democrats, the majority of whom have come to side with progressives on virtually everything. Don't blame Democrats in general for rolling over to Republicans--blame the minority who regularly do that, and name their names. When you are talking about how my party is supposedly rolling over to the Republicans, please leave me (I am a Democratic Party official now) and the majority of Democrats out of your rants. We are actually the only people fighting Republicans in Congress. Restrict your blame to the Democrats who are sucking at any given moment. When you talk about the Democratic leadership, you might also want to specify which members of the leadership are not progressive enough. Do you mean Howard Dean too? Do you mean Nancy Pelosi, a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus? Speaking of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which is the only Democratic House caucus that is actually expanding in size and which is positioned to take over half of the committees in the House if Democrats take over, you might want to specify that those Democrats are not who you are talking about either.

Over the past four or five days, we have finally regained the momentum in this election. It had been trending Republican for about three weeks before that. Our chances to take over the House are very, very real, and in the Senate progressives have some major incoming allies such as Bernie Sanders, Ned Lamont, Jon Tester, Sherrod Brown, Amy Klobuchar, and Sheldon Whitehouse. Don't voluntarily throw away our momentum and the chances of these great candidates because you are upset with a minority of the Democratic Party on this torture bill. Be a progressive instead. Realize that the majority of the Democratic Party is on your side on virtually everything, and don't stereotype. Realize that you can continue to work to change the Democratic Party for the better, as we have in many ways these past four years. Place blame where it belongs rather than making unfair, blanket statements. My party--and I have no qualms about saying that it is my party--is the progressive party, and we have our best chance to retake Congress in six years.

Now, with that said, keep making calls against this horrendous torture bill. Find your Senators, and give them a ring. It is particularly useful for Democrats to remember where the majority of their own party stands on an issue.

Update: Case in point, Democrats in the House just voted 160-34 against this bill. Not perfect by any means, but the Democratic Party is clearly on our side on this bill. Repulbicans voted 219-7 in favor, and are clearly on the wrong side.

Tags: Democrats, Ideology, progressives (all tags)

Comments

51 Comments

Re: Being Fair To Democrats

4 Democrats voted to confirm Alito. Byrd, Conrad, Johnson and Nelson.

by tigercourse 2006-09-27 11:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

By a vote of 37-7, Democrats in the Senate opposed CAFTA.   We have ANOTHER free trade deal with Oman that just passed this month.  Clinton, Kerry and Obama voted YEA with the Republicans.  So when one of these three tell you about how they will save jobs and raise wages, don't believe them.  

by dkmich 2006-09-28 01:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

Good post - we do need to work to replace those who have voted for some HORRENDOUS bills though.  We must Lamont those Lieberman candidates.  

But good to know that not MOST but only SOME Senators, Congressmen, who are democrats need to be replaced (Not now, though - in 2008 - let's gain control of the House and Senate now.)

by jc 2006-09-27 11:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

Right, so who voted against the party on ALL OF THESE and is up for reelection in 2008?  That should be our job in 2007, finding a replacement and funding them.

by Robert P 2006-09-27 11:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

Here's a list of who voted against the party on two out of three of these - I counted voting for cloture but then voting against it on the floor as a slick way of voting against the party.

Baucus (D-MT)
Johnson (D-SD)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Pryor (D-AR)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Pryor (D-AR)
Nelson (D-FL)       
Bayh (D-IN)       
Conrad (D-ND)       
Biden (D-DE)        banking state
Carper (D-DE)        banking state
Bingaman (D-NM)        ?
Byrd (D-WV)         ?
Inouye (D-HI)        ?
Kohl (D-WI)        ?
Salazar (D-CO)        ?
Stabenow (D-MI)        ?
Lieberman (Con Lie-CT)    being dealt with

Up for re-election in 2008:

Baucus (D-MT)
Biden (D-DE)        banking state
Johnson (D-SD)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Pryor (D-AR)

Looks like Baucus would be the most vulenerable to a primary challenge from a progressive.

by Quinton 2006-09-27 12:51PM | 0 recs
Bring them all down

Whichever of the above listed senators who are up in 2008 will hopefully be challenged -- and theirchallengers will hopefully be supported by the liberal netroots.

Like Dean's 50 state strategy is pressing the rotten GOP everywhere, so should rotten Democrats be pressed everywhere.

by Sitkah 2006-09-27 01:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

Looking at the list above- We must excuse the following Democratic Senators
1)Baucus-MT- Montana is still a red state which is trending blue. Montana's popular Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer is up for re-election in 2008 and will run again. Montana's soon to be junior Senator Jon Tester is benifiting from Conrad Burns personal weakness. Republicans can field top tier candidates ie former governor Marc Racicot or US Rep Denny Rehberg.
2)Johnson-SD- A red state. no progressive stands a chance in winning SD.
3)Landrieu-LA- Because of Katrina- Lousiana is trending Republican.
4-10)Democratic Senators up for re-election in 2006 as the Democratic Nominee
4)Nelson-FL
5)Conrad-ND
6)Carper-DE
7)Bingaman-NM
8)Kohl-WI
9)Stabenow-MI-
10)Byrd-WV

Biden-DE gets excused from being from a banking state.

Pryor-AR is the likely victim of a primary challenge. Nate Coulter- 1993 Lt Governor Nominee and 1998 US Senate Candidate - former aide to former Senator Dale Bumpers.

by CMBurns 2006-09-27 02:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

I don't excuse any of these folks.  No Democrat should make excuses like some mamby-pamby, wishy-washy, the Republican way is right, see I vote that way, wussy.

If you are a Democrat fight for democratic ideals and tell the Republicans to go to hell.  Our way is the best way, it is best for our country, best for our states, and for everyone living there.

by Robert P 2006-09-28 11:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

Senators are elected by the voters from their respected state. They have to represent the values of the voters from their state. Not every state is like Massachusetts or Vermont.

by CMBurns 2006-09-28 05:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

Well, I'm from NC, which most people would assume is red.  But, I can tell you that we are leaning more blue every day and if we had some progressives taking the fight to the people it could be a whole different ballgame.

by Robert P 2006-09-29 06:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

My State's  Senators are Arlen Spector(who's not uup for re-elect this year) and Rick Santorum.  Be fair to me and help us get rid of Ricky Satan.

by DvilleDem 2006-09-27 11:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

Good post, Chris.

by InigoMontoya 2006-09-27 11:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

Progressives need to be fair to Democrats...

I'm liberal rather than progressive, but I say we have been fair to Democrats. Most need to be driven in the right direction like reluctant mules. The moment we stop slapping them on the ass they stop pulling.

by Sitkah 2006-09-27 12:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats
You have a strange obsession with labels.
by Chris Bowers 2006-09-27 12:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

Off topic. May I suggest that you write a diary about me?

by Sitkah 2006-09-27 12:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

Right on!

This "Dems always cave" meme is such a momentum killer, do these people want to win, or feel sorry for themselves?

I always point out a strong majority of Congressional Democrats voted against the Iraq war.  A narrow majority were wrong in the senate, but a very strong majority against in the house were against it.

And never repeat the false notion that it wouldn't matter, that Kerry or a Democratic majority would have been the same or some such nonsense.  The victories you point out were with only 45 democratic senators and a bunch of those from red states.

Even if we don't take the senate, 49 democrats will stop a lot more garbage than 45.  

by scientician 2006-09-27 12:17PM | 0 recs
First things first

Ned Lamont in the Senate would be like an illuminated warning sign to "bad" Democrats.

But he's got to win first.

And so do some of those "bad" Democrats if we want the power to slow down Bush.

by stevehigh 2006-09-27 12:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

And so do some of those "bad" Democrats if we want the power to slow down Bush.

It's a fact that Bush got more of what he wanted when those bad Democrats controlled the Senate from 2001-03 than he has from the current bad GOP Senate.

Keep slapping.

by Sitkah 2006-09-27 12:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

How do you see that?

The Dems controlled the Senate from when Jeffords switched parties in mid-2001, AFTER the 2001 Bush tax cut had passed the Senate, until the end of 2002.

Just to give one for-instance, the Dem-controlled Senate in 2001-2 passed no significant tax cut.  The GOP-controlled Senate in early 2001, and the GOP-controlled Senate of 2003-present, has passed a bunch of them.

For another, Bankruptcy Deform got stalled in Congress in 2001-2, but it passed in 2005.

by RT 2006-09-27 01:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

You've forgetten a lot.

Democrats voted for Bush's workplace safety cutbacks. his bankruptcy bill, his his first tax scam -- and that was before they controlled the Senate.

Afterward they helped pass ECLB (Every Child Left Behind), the UnPatiot Act, and the Iraq Disaster. As a final insult, they overwhelmingly voted for Bush's version of DHS after losing the 2002 election.

I expect many Democrats will be just as eager to collaborate with Bush in a future Dem controlled Senate as they've always been.

by Sitkah 2006-09-27 03:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

Excellent post Chris.

by smacfarl 2006-09-27 12:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

 I understand where you're coming from, Chris, and I've just become an agent of the local Democratic Party myself. It's funny how that influences your perspective -- I'm seeing some wonderful attributes in local candidates I thought I didn't like before.

 Anyway, I think most of us are well aware that the Democrats are on our side most of the time on issues. The problem is that some of us remember 1993-94 all too well -- Clinton had just gotten into the White House, we had strong Democratic majorities in both chambers, and we thought the sky was the limit. So what happened? The Republicans all united to derail us. They filibustered EVERYTHING. They blocked legislation, using all kinds of procedural tricks. They attacked Clinton daily. They bragged loudly about their obstructionism. They got their mugs on the media talkshows and cut Clinton NO slack. They were aggressive, even though they were badly outnumbered. And their reward was taking both houses of Congress in 1994.

 The Democrats have been in a similar situation under Bush, and while they've been ideologically OK over that time period, as you point out, their tactics have been monumentally ineffective.  It's not all their fault, given how awful our media has become, but the Dems still seem to think we're dealing with Eisenhower/Rockefeller Republicans on the other side of the aisle, and we just get frustrated that we've sunk to debating a right as basic and fundamental to Western civilization as habeas corpus and there's STILL not enough (public) fire in their bellies.

 And then there's the case of Barack Obama. A telegenic, articulate, intelligent man who should be one of the party's greatest assets. And he is, sometimes. But I cannot fathom how Obama, who's forever ponificating about how Democrats don't pay enough attention to "moral values", didn't stampede to the cameras on Day One and declare his unequivocal opposition to torture on moral grounds. Given his high credibility and popularity (he's one of the few Dems whom the media doesn't ridicule), he had enormous leverage here to re-orient the public debate...and he passed on a dynamite opportunity to put the Democratic Party on the high moral ground in the public-perception sweepstakes. He's been quiet. Noncommittal. About one of those MORAL issues that's supposedly his specialty. That's heartbreakingly frustrating, and that's what makes many of us so infuriated with the national Dems.

 I remain committed to the party and hope to use my Central Committee position to help produce more Russ Feingolds and fewer Joe Liebermans. But sometimes I need to vent, because I don't want another 2002, and I'm seeing too many parallels...

by Master Jack 2006-09-27 12:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

Exactly!  I want to see the Dems oppose stuff that's bad.  

I just got off the phone with Sarbanes' office and Mikulski's office, and they were weaseling around about whether they were going to support or oppose the Trash Habeas Corpus Act.  Sarbanes can vote his conscience because he's retiring (that's his seat Cardin and Steele are running for), and MD's a blue state where Mikulski's safe in whatever year she comes up for re-election.

Drives me nuts.  

Dear Mr. Sarbanes and Ms. Mikulski: can't you guys, for once in your lives, take a stand early, rather than waiting until five minutes before you vote??

I was excited that Steny Hoyer had come out against the bill, but then I checked the House website - oh, they've already voted.  Guess he had to declare himself at that point.

'Scuse me, I've got to go bang my head against a wall.

by RT 2006-09-27 01:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

Here's how the House voted.  34 House Dems voted for this abomination.

Sure, 160 Dems voted against it, but that's sure a lot of defections.

by RT 2006-09-27 01:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

That's nearly 18 percent.  Is that good or bad?

by jc 2006-09-27 02:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

In my opinion, at least, 34 Dems voting to give Bush  the right to lock people up indefinitely without trial is absolutely appalling.  

It's bad enough when Pubbies do it, but I'm kinda jaded there: I don't expect them to be a moral improvement over Darth Vader.

But I expect Dems to be human beings, and to be aware that they're writing laws that apply to human beings.

by RT 2006-09-27 05:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

Notice how Harold Ford and Sherrod Brown, Democratic House members running for Senate seats, voted. That's right, they voted with the Republicans.

by CMike 2006-09-27 05:34PM | 0 recs
Great post

Here's what I think: Democrats are, like most thinking people I know, manic depressives.  We fly from "Let's do something about these horrible Republicans" to "that's it, I quit the party!" in 10 seconds flat.  There's also a learned helplessness that sets in during 6 years of pretty much uninterrupted one-party rule.  

We should be free to tell the Party leaders when we disagree and why.  But the scorched-earth tactic of "I give up, not one more dime" is just short-sighted.  This post and Kos' about the long-term nature of this struggle are spot on.

by dday 2006-09-27 12:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

Excellent post. Thank you for writing this. I wish you would cross post it at DKOS.

by buffalo girl 2006-09-27 12:49PM | 0 recs
I agree

I think you're right, Chris.

Dem supporters have to accept that, without electing Dems who are not liberals, they will never get a decent majority in either house.

Most likely, the most conservative Dem will be more liberal than the most liberal GOP.

But the marginal Dem rep or senators will be more conservative than the average of the party in the house in question.

More profitable, though, than lefty bellyaching about the usual suspects, would be an effort to encourage a redefinition of liberal. The problem with American politics as a whole is the corrupt influence of campaign contributions. Moderate is all too often a polite word for corporatist - and liberals can't escape the pressure of fundraising.

Was it, for instance, really necessary on constituency grounds for forty or so Dem reps to support the estate tax repeals?

Part of the problem is the insistence of some elements of the lefty sphere on choosing idols, whom, when they fail to reach the standards of perfection demanded of them, their former adulators denounce.

(Obama is a current fallen idol - being berated right now for his failure to play Joan of Arc on the detainee bill in threads all over DKos.)

Politics is an inherently sordid process through from which public good may come. (FDR was a prime example of a pol who wrought good through dirty pool.)

Not taking part is not an option. Third parties are not an option.

Nor is it realistic to think that the left can take over the Dem party. (That tent has got to encompass at least 218 reps and 50/51 senators.)

Let's face it, even if the Dems comfortably win both houses, nothing much legislatively is going to pass. And a Dem trifecta in 08 is unlikely to be able to work more than marginal improvements - fiddling about with Part D, rather than universal healthcare.

The big trouble is, as I see it, the short horizon of so many lefties. There is not the patience for the glacial change in the balance of power that the GOP enjoyed (or suffered through) over the period 1964-94.

Not that I think that the Dems will have to wait that long. But expectations over the medium term need to be held in check.

(Assuming that the Dems do win both houses in November, the GOP strategy will certainly include trying to prise off a number of the usual suspects to form ad hoc conservative coalitions.

Just totting up the numbers of Dem renegades in the votes you list, I make an average of 9.5 Dem senators voting against their party.

Now, for all the agenda control that a Senate majority party has (and it's nowhere near that of a House majority), to have a bench of perhaps 15 Dem senators for the minority leadership to draw on for shenanigans could do wonders for GOP morale at its lowest.)

by skeptic06 2006-09-27 12:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

This is a really good post.  It also points out why controlling the majority is so important.  If a majority of the party opposes these measures or nominations, they would never have seen the light of day in a House or Senate controlled by the Dems because the majority controls what gets to the floor.

by John Mills 2006-09-27 01:16PM | 0 recs
tough week.

This is has been a really tough week trying to weather this thing.  I think everyone deserves a "well done for holding it together."

It alll started over the past few days with many front-pagers on various blogs (MyDD, Kos, FDL) who were very critical of al Dems in preparation for what looked like a capitulation on this torture bill.  It felt to me like the front-pagers across the blogs had lost faith in the party leadership.   Then, today, in what seemed like a natural progresssion, there were a spate of diaries in the blogs that pretty much carried on that negative tone--in particular, one very big diary at kos.  Then, thankfully--a few hours ago--the front-pagers stepped up and started talking about staying positive, Kos, FDL, not MyDD.

I feel like it's been really had for the readers and the front-pagers of the blogs to get in sync on this one--but we did it. Personally, I've hard a had time fluctuating between what I know we need to do (stay focused on Nov 7) and what I feel I want to do (throw a brick at the party leadership for taking so long to step up and be vocal on the is torture bill).

I can see, now, that we are settling into a strategy of contextualizing our emotions with pragmatism, but it was tough--really tough.  

So, I give everyone credit for fending off this Rovian tactic and generally keeping our heads over the past few days--front-pagers, readers...the whole shebang.

Well done, everyone.  Especially the front-pagers for some very agile shuttle diplomacy back and forth.

by Jeffrey Feldman 2006-09-27 01:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

You watch, Chris.

by Matt Stoller 2006-09-27 01:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

Ford and sherrod brown voted for torture - 2 incoming progressives/.....

by melandell 2006-09-27 02:09PM | 0 recs
Sherood and Ford

where is this?

Thanks.

by jc 2006-09-27 02:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Sherrod and Ford

The votes are here.

by KCinDC 2006-09-27 02:24PM | 0 recs
Thanks

And again, this blows.  I know it is a "political" move, in that Brown and Ford want to win their Senate seats, but it just means a "supposed" fighting dem betraying american values - before even being elected!!

by jc 2006-09-27 02:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Sherood and Ford

Never mind - found it -

What the hell - is this what we gave up Hackett for - so that Sherrod Brown could vot FOR the torture amendment??

D#mn, that sucks!!

by jc 2006-09-27 02:25PM | 0 recs
In the Senate...

 ...have the Democrats considered filibustering on the grounds that U.S. citizens are being stripped of habeas corpus?

 Middle America doesn't care about aliens' rights, but when the discussion seeps over to citizens, I'd venture that MOST Americans, even in red states, would start to think twice about the implications of this bill.

 Has this thought grazed Harry Reid's brow? I mean, just the idea of standing up for an 800-year bulwark of Western civilization on the basis of the quaint idea of "principle" might not fly these days, but there's a good political exit strategy available if they want it...

by Master Jack 2006-09-27 02:21PM | 0 recs
Re: In the Senate...

No, that would be too good of an idea. Why take a strong principled position on something that can be presented in a way that a child can understand it? It's so much easier to dither and hide and strategize and lose.

God help us.

Chris is posting about how our momentum is going the right way and all that. I have no stomach for that right now. I am totally disgusted that 34 Dems voted for Torture.

by aahhgh 2006-09-27 06:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

Chris Bowers wrote,


 Progressives need to be fair to Democrats, the majority of whom have come to side with progressives on virtually everything. Don't blame Democrats in general for rolling over to Republicans--blame the minority who regularly do that, and name their names.

OK, I'll name names. Rep. Ed Case (D-HI), a self-identified Lieberman Democrat, is one of those blue dogs who vote with Republicans on legislation such as the Bankruptcy Bill (which Case actually co-sponsored.) He decided to challenge Sen. Akaka (D-HI) this year for the Senate, and after mounting a noisy challenge, on the theme of "Transition," got thumped by the progressive Akaka 55% - 45% in the primary. Now his House seat is open; more than 10 people ran for it in the primary, mostly progressive Democrats, and the winner (with about 25% of the vote) was Mazie Hirono, who is much more progressive than Case, and bears Patsy Mink's mantle. Hawaii Progressives have marked Case's votes on the issues you cited, and have paid attention. The results may be one of the most progressive congressional delegations in the country.

Interestingly, Akaka, one of the most progressive Senators in congress, was strongly supported by Sen. Inouye (D-HI), who after November may become the most conservative Democrat in our congressional delegation. Like Akaka, he is in his 80s, but he doesn't sound interested in retiring any time soon.

Bob in HI

by Bob Schacht 2006-09-27 02:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

I live in Ohio and I am appalled that Sherrod Brown voted for the Torture Bill. I'm beside myself. I'm also completely mystified and feel totally betrayed.

Brown was never exciting, but he was reliably progressive. This vote is completely out of left field and it is on one of the arguably most significant votes a legislator in America could face.

He has chosen to support torture, presumably because he either thinks it is acceptable, or thinks it will somehow help him beat DeWine. But he has now lost me. This is a really, really low moment.

I expected the low moment to be when DeWine magically "squeaked out" a surprise victory, courtesy of Ken Blackwell and his bag of tricks. And I would have been both shattered and furious. Now I'm furious at Brown.

There are betrayals and then there are betrayals. This is a clear-cut moral issue, in a world of grey shades.

I will be calling Brown's office tomorow to inform him that he has lost my vote. No more money from me, no volunteering, no positive words, no support of any kind. I won't vote for any of the candidates for Senate - I'll vote for other Democrats on the ticket for other offices, but Brown has lost me.

And I will cry all night.

by aahhgh 2006-09-27 04:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

So you'd rather have DeWine on 0/100 issues than Brown on 99/100 issues?

Man, maybe the Republicans are right and we are too dumb to win.

by InigoMontoya 2006-09-27 04:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

It isn't a question of which; it's a question of why were the Dems rolling over on this until just the past day or so.

Nobody here's gonna vote Republican on account of this (I think only 7 GOPers in the House voted against the bill), but you'd like to see the Dems be an opposition party on those occasions when it matters.

They were able to filibuster the estate tax repeal, fercryinoutloud, but they can't filibuster to preserve habeas corpus??  Excuse me, but my head's exploding.

by RT 2006-09-27 05:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

It depends on which issues. Brown voted against Net Neutrality when he had the chance. I wrote his campaign and he wrote back that he thought that it was important that people's cable bills be lower - which was not guaranteed by the bill, the bill was to "encourage" greater competition. Which didn't happen. And Net Neutrality may or may not squeak through.

That was bad enough. It told me that he was pandering. Thinking that if he was involved in lowering people's cable TV bills they'd vote for him. As though any bill EVER actually results in greater competition for established corporate interests. He was willing to threaten Net Neutrality - a hugely significant principle - for what, had it happened, would undoubtedly be a minimal and short-term reduction of cable TV prices.

Now he caves on TORTURE? On fucking TORTURE?

Do I want DeWine more than him? No! But do I want Brown? Not anymore.

And there's the quandary. And maybe the Repubs are right - we are too dumb to win. Because we keep voting for people who betray us. You have to take a stand at some point. You have to draw lines. And our leaders have got to learn the lesson that compromising CORE principles is a losing strategy. And it is. Because Brown has lost me. Believe me, I was entirely prepared to vote for him. I was going to volunteer for him. He just lost my vote because he has taken a position that I cannot stomach. This is a bedrock principle. It's not an argument about higher or lower taxes or any number of other things where reasonable points can be made on both sides, where for some losers there are other winners. This is an either/or. This is a lose/lose.

I still can't believe it frankly. It is such an appallingly stupid thing for Brown to have done. Stunningly stupid. I keep thinking it must be a mistake. But if it is not a mistake then it is inexcusable.

Brown has not generated a lot of excitement here in Ohio. DeWine is so despicable that Brown's lukewarmness was going to be good enough. He could have handled this vote any number of ways, including NOT Voting if he is so sure DeWine would somehow benefit from a No vote.

I won't vote for a stupid man.

by aahhgh 2006-09-27 05:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

I don't know for sure if I'd do the same thing, aahhgh, but I support your decision.  I don't think I could vote for Brown after this.

by eRobin 2006-09-28 03:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

Two quick points -- My rep, Jane Harman, sure seems to have cleaned up her act after the primary challange by Marcy Winograd. Even an unsuccessful challange can be a help in the House since two years isn't that long a time if they don't reform their ways.

The only time I have ever voted for a Republican in my life was when I lived in Eastern Iowa 20-30 years ago and Leach was my rep. It seems whenevery I check the roll call vote on an important subject I see his name in the correct column. I'm sure he's made many more votes I wouldn't agree with but I'm not ashamed to say I voted for him 25 years ago.

I lied -- a third point. Any Dem who voted or votes for this bill will never get my support for any office. I am not a single issue person but this is greater than that. I told that to my Senators (Feinstein & Boxer -- but I don't need to tell you that :) ) exactly that in no uncertain terms. And if anybody currently in the Senate expects my support for a Presidential run my first question will be "how did you vote on torture?"

by fwaltman 2006-09-27 04:53PM | 0 recs
Being fair to Progressives

Aren't you guilty of just what you accuse "progressives" of? I am outraged by the Dems who voted for torture. I am outraged by their corrupt and unprincipled Senate leadership. That's not all Democrats. But it's what now publicly represents The Democratic Party.

As fwaltman notes, we need to get them to clean up their acts, not give them a pass. We do too much of that, not too little.

by Revere 2006-09-27 06:22PM | 0 recs
Thanks for saying this, Chris

This is a very important post.  I only hope those who need to hear it actually listen.

by Ryan Anderson 2006-09-27 07:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

I don't know about this. I understand the reason -- and need -- for optimism. But 25-18 on the bankruptcy bill and 26-18 against on the class action bill really make me grit my teeth. No, more than that: they damage my respect for the Democratic Party. Sure, more Democratic senators voted against these bills than for them. But where was the leadership? I'll tell you, they were in the Capitol toilet stalls, jerking off. They should have been out there rallying the troops against two of the most despicable pieces of legislation ever. Does the Democratic Party -- not just its "progressive" wing -- stand for anything on the most important issues?

Sorry for being so crass, but this stuff really burns me up. It's why I got into MyDD in the first place. We're realists here. We know that the only way to effect real change is to change the Democratic Party from within. Yes, we'll put our money on the Dems, not on the Greens. And yes, I'll vote Democratic and encourage all of my friends to as well. But I'll tell you one thing. I won't be a frigging cheerleader. Not until our movement candidates are in charge.

by nstrauss 2006-09-27 09:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Being Fair To Democrats

Thank you Chris! Jeez.

by CalD 2006-09-28 05:48AM | 0 recs

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