Next step; a political World War III

When the Supreme Court empowered corporations to spend as much as they wish in the months leading up to elections, they did the equivalent of dropping duel hydrogen bombs on the Democratic Party and the American democracy.  The American People will NOT be able to meet and raise that corporate ante in ANY future election.  And so President Obama and the Democrats must do whatever it takes to neutralize the treasonous ruling. 

President Obama gave a prelude regarding the extent of what’s at stake when he recently told Diane Sawyer;

I'd rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president,

Well, a good one-term president will save the Union from a Supreme Court-orchestrated coup, and hope that the American People will be wise enough to appreciate his courage, and grateful enough to reward him with a second term.

But, that’s the end game.  Before we come to that, we will witness a political battle of unheard of proportions.  Republicans know the score, http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2009/03/progressive_america.html, and like a cornered cat with no other option but certain death, they will do WHATEVER IT TAKES to survive. 

The 139 filibusters last Congress was child’s play compared to what they have planned for 2010.

As Lawrence O’Donnell explained recently for The Huffington Post, Republicans don’t have to filibuster any bill to stop Obama’s entire agenda; 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lawrence-odonnell/will-scott-brown-ruin-rep_b_426604.html

The way you "filibuster" a bill that you want to kill is offer an endless stream of reasonable sounding amendments that have to be debated and voted on. It's easy to come up with one amendment per page of legislation. That's why the Republicans offered hundreds of amendments during the Senate committees' debates on the bill. When the majority leader brings up a two thousand page bill, the minority would normally come up with at least five hundred amendments that could drag out the debate for several months. That's what the Republicans did in 1994 when they killed the Clinton health care reform bill on the Senate floor. No filibuster, no forcing the Democrats to clear 60-vote procedural hurdles, no forcing a reading to the bill, just an endless stream of reasonable sounding amendments -- so reasonable that some of them passed with votes of 100 to 0. And the Democrats, seeing this could go on forever, surrendered. Fifty-seven Democrats were defeated by forty-three determined Republicans.

And Republicans are prepared to do just that and whatever else they need to in order to save their skin.

What will President Obama do?  Well, his first step, which he was sure to announce before his State of the Union address tomorrow night, was carried by Talking Points Memo; 

President Obama will propose freezing non-security discretionary government spending for the next three years, a sweeping plan to attempt deficit reduction that will save taxpayers $250 billion over 10 years.

The obvious strategy behind this huge blow to Progressives is the appeasing of Independents.  But that is, of course, only the first part of the strategy.

Fact one; Obama and the Democrats cannot let the SCOTUS Citizens United v. FEC ruling stand.

Fact two: Any response, whether having Congress create two new SCOTUS seats or having Congress pass a bill in response to the foreign influence gateway the SCOTUS ruling has opened, will not simply be defensive. 

In other words, President Obama cannot, and will not, be content to simply level the playing field again.  That would be the ultimate sign of weakness and defeat, and it would surely embolden Republicans to drop more hydrogen bombs on the American government.  President Obama’s response must be so punishing that Republicans understand full well that he has the power to bring down their whole financial structure if he so desires, and if they give him sufficient reason.

How this will all play out during the months to come is anyone’s guess, but anyone who doesn’t expect all out war simply does not appreciate exactly what's at stake.  My guess is that this will work out somewhat like WWII, when the Axis Powers threatened the heart of civilization, and were soundly and forever defeated by the Allies.  In hindsight, however, we might ultimately thank SCOTUS for doing us a great favor with their treasonous decision; providing the level of incentive necessary for the kind of strong campaign finance reform that has been beckoning for passage for decades.

Sure, money talks.  But three hundred million Americans who value their democracy talk a lot louder. 

Tags: SCOTUS, Citizens United v. FEC, obama, Republicans, Democrats, campaign finance reform (all tags)

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