Moveon and the Democratically Controlled Congress
by Melissa Ryan, Sun Sep 23, 2007 at 11:42:40 AM EDT
I'm a bit behind in writing about the Senate's voting to condemn Moveon, partly because it's been a busy couple of days but mostly because I find the vote so disheartening. Three days later and I'm still upset. Last week was a culmination of bad votes, and let's be honest a bad week for Democratic values. We lost on Habeas, we lost on the Webb Amendment, and even the failed Levin-Reed ended up being a watered down version of what it could have been.
In a sea of defeats why does Moveon stick out like a sore thumb for me? Because it was so damn pointless. What a complete waste of the Senate's time. We don't elect Senators to publicly condemn statements they don't agree with. We elect them to govern.
Chris Dodd said it best. His statement has been all over the Internets, but it's worth repeating:
It is a sad day in the Senate when we spend hours debating an ad while our young people are dying in Iraq. Now that the Senate has twice voted on this ad, it is time to move on and vote to end the war.
There is a time and a place for political theater. I personally have no problem with anyone disliking the ad and using it to score political points. Condemn Moveon in press releases, on cable news and talk radio shows, and in campaign materials. Engage in whatever sanctimony you want. But is it to much to ask that you keep the mock outrage off of the Senate floor?
As MyLeftNutmeg's tparty pointed out this morning our Congress currently enjoys an 11% approval rating. Americans are generally fed up with the direction our Congress. The disgust and disappointment extends far beyond progressive Democrats, but I'm particularly unnerved at being slapped in the face this way. Especially considering the above mentioned failures.
Lengthy quote from tparty's post. Emphasis mine:
In the face of this absolute collapse of support, I can't begin to explain the Democratic Congress' palpable fear, from refusing to enforce their subpoena power, to rubber-stamping Bush's FISA abuses, to allowing Republicans to continue to control the national debate. Perhaps, unrealistically buoyed by Election '08 poll numbers and the cash flowing into campaign coffers of the DSCC and DCCC, they think things are just fine.
But things aren't fine.
Half the party just voted to condemn a single act of free speech on the part of one of their allies, and all criticism of members of the military in general. Democrats had already lost their entire base - now they just told them to "fuck off" in no uncertain words.
Meanwhile, Chris Murphy is still the only Congressman in CT to have signed on to the one strategy that might do a thing to end this war before January 2009.
It's the votes and strategies and speeches and amendments that people are reacting to intellectually. But it's the fear that people are reacting to emotionally. There's no point in standing up for someone who won't stand up for themselves. And Democrats and "moderate" Independents around the country are getting this message loud and clear, even if the D.C. insider class isn't.
Progressive activists across the country worked their butts off to get the current Congress elected. We don't expect them to win every battle, but we do expect them to put up a good fight. We don't expect them to always agree with progressive organizations or their strategic tactics but we do expect that those disagreements won't become a taxpayer funded floor show. The Moveon vote was a complete misuse of power. Shame on every Democrat who voted in favor of it.