Mike the Mad Biologist

…because that’s your job. TPM reports the following whine from an anonymous Senate Democratic chief-of-staff:

However, I believe it’s worth reminding folks that–as long as the Republican Senators hold together–we have to hold EVERY single Democratic Senator, including folks like Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson, which is usually impossible unless the legislation in question gets substantially watered down.

So, what we might end up with is a Senate Democratic Caucus that holds 98% of its members but still fails to pass healthcare reform, AND a mob of angry progressives who are screaming for the heads of “the Democrats.” This isn’t fair, but more importantly, it’s self-defeating. If progressives REALLY want to transform America, they’ll make an issue of the anti-democratic rules of the Senate which make real change virtually impossible. Blasting their elected Democratic officials, the vast majority of whom will vote for the Senate bill (and would also support a more robust public option if we didn’t need 60 votes to achieve cloture), may make folks feel good, but is both short-sighted and stupid.

Actually, asshole, it’s not about “folks feeling good.”

Rank-and-file Democrats were told we needed to elect a Democratic President, and we did that.

Rank-and-file Democrats were told we needed to elect a Democratic House, and we did that (in fact, because we didn’t listen to the Democratic ‘leadership’ and supported ‘long-shot’ candidates, the Democrats have a huge majority in the House).

Rank-and-file Democrats were told we needed to elect a Democratic Senate, and we did that.

Rank-and-file Democrats were told we needed to elect a Democratic Senate with sixty senators, and we did that (although if the Democratic ‘leadership’ had listened to the rank-and-file and supported Lamont, one of the two claimed problems wouldn’t exist).

Maybe we needed seventy Democratic senators and you forgot to tell us? Although any additional Democrats would be picked up from conservative states and would probably be Ben Nelson/Kent Conrad clones.

If overturning the filibuster was so damn important, why wasn’t the topic ever raised? Why wasn’t it put into the party platform under ‘democratizing the Senate’?

I bring this up because, from where I sit, the Democratic party–that is, citizens who are Democrats–haven’t gotten a damn thing. I didn’t expect to get everything, but I didn’t expect to get nothing either. A crappy ‘stimulus’ bill that was insufficient and a political liability? A healthcare bill that MA officials think will be worse than Romneycare? (and doesn’t really kick in until 2014). Moving backwards on abortion? The modest tax reforms Obama ran on are non-existent. Creating green jobs has stalled out. And we’re still in Iraq.

These things matter to people’s lives–they’re not about self-validation. They needed to happen years ago, but they’re still not happening. There is no more time for excuses. If the Democratic ‘leadership’, both Congress and President Hopey Changey, were out there campaigning hard and not using conservative talking points–that is, shifting the frame of reference, Nelson and his ilk would be under much stronger pressure. Instead, the leadership doesn’t even try to take them on.

But, hell, let’s just insult Democratic voters instead.

Comments

  1. #1 Katharine
    November 22, 2009

    Democrats are terrible propagandists.

    I say this as a liberal.

    It’s really fucking cynical, and I hate propaganda with a vengeance, but people need to acknowledge the fact that most of the United States is composed of stupid uneducated morons.

    No, you know what we need to do? We need to model our collegiate system as close to that of Ireland as possible (despite the fact that I’m not fond of Ireland as a whole because of the fact that they’re a bunch of socially conservative arsebags, their academic system has some pluses), and educate the maximum number of people, remodel society completely so it gives praise to the bright people where it belongs, and make it painful for stupid people to be stupid.

    And until we accomplish that, we have to be good propagandists.

  2. #2 Gingerbaker
    November 22, 2009

    Right on, Mike.

    So this is where you let your hair down, eh? Who knew?! :)

  3. #3 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    November 22, 2009

    Here is the key point that I keep trying to make to Democrats and progressives who are willing to moderate so that they can win over conservatives. If we have a group of policies that we think will work to fix the problems then:

    1. We need to communicate the ideas and fuck the labels. If it works it works. My brother told me that in Oklahoma, being too liberal will “scare” people. Understanding how to work to solve problems like the growing health care funding problem is not at issue, it is communicating with passion and clarity and not mousey backtracking.

    2. Framing, Framing, Framing. Lousy for science communications, wonderful for politics.

  4. #4 Oran Kelley
    November 22, 2009

    From where I sit, it galls me that someone who apparently a) doesn’t know what the Democratic majority actually consists of (majority thin-blooded moderates); and b) seems to have been unfamiliar with the rules of the Senate that have prevailed his entire life; and c) seems to have been unfamiliar with the long-long-longstanding indiscipline of the democratic party . . . from where I sit you ought to re-asses your dreams a little bit, dip-shit. You think you deserve legislation A, B or C, then elect Congressional candidates who will vote for supports A, B or C, not candidates who say “I’m a Democrat, but I don’t support the party on A, B & C.” And, guess what: if you can’t manage to do that, you’ve gotta lump it.

    The activist wing of the party DID NOT deliver a Congress that will deliver on its agenda. FULL STOP. Until you do, you are entitled to whatever the thin-blooded moderates are willing to concede

    If that’s just too difficult to understand: leave the party and start working on getting Palin elected now. It worked wonderfully in 2000.

    The man that whining Congressional aide works for actually got elected to Congress. You don’t like him, his whine, his position on the issues, whatever . . . GET SOMEONE ELECTED WHO SUITS YOU BETTER. And meanwhile follow your own advice and do some actual strategizing rather than whining in turn.

  5. #5 The Science Pundit
    November 22, 2009

    Ramen!!!

  6. #6 JThompson
    November 23, 2009

    @Oran Kelley: Your entire rant could’ve been summed up as “Support conservative Democrats, they’re better than Republicans. We have no principles, so abandon yours, hippie!”.
    Except they aren’t better than Republicans. What do ANY blue dogs do that Republicans don’t? Fuck them and fuck the moderates. Keep pissing off the liberal wing of the party and get used to losing. Especially after all the “Hope and Change!” that turned out to be bribery and status quo.
    Funnily enough, it’s another anonymous comment from another “moderate” Democrat. It’s funny how the “moderates” are the ones that get us labeled cowards. Can’t imagine why that would be.

  7. #7 MikeB
    November 23, 2009

    West Wing – 3rd Season -“Gone Quiet”

    Bruno Gianelli -‘Somebody came along and said ‘liberal’ means ‘soft on crime, soft on drugs, soft on Communism, soft on defense, and we’re gonna tax you back to the Stone Age because people shouldn’t have to go to work if they don’t want to.’ And instead of saying, ‘Well, excuse me, you right-wing, reactionary, xenophobic, homophobic, anti-education, anti-choice, pro-gun, Leave it to Beaver trip back to the ’50s,’ we cowered in the corner and said, ‘Please don’t hurt me.’

    If a fictional political consultant can get it right on TV eight years ago, why is the Democratic establishment still getting it wrong. Being a Republican lite wont keep you safe next year, it will just make you look weak.

    Oran – ‘GET SOMEONE ELECTED WHO SUITS YOU BETTER’. Have a look at Act Blue, daily Kos, etc. More Democrats – better Democrats – thats their motto. Why do you think Lieberman was targetted? As Mike points out, if Lamont had been elected (and he only lost because the Democratic establishment wouldn’t (and still doesn’t) punish Lieberman for his many sins), there would be one less problem, and it would have sent a message.

    I think Lincoln and the others are going to get that message in their next primaries – hopefully when they lose. FDL is ready for a fight, and they are not alone.

  8. #8 JasonTD
    November 23, 2009

    As Mike points out, if Lamont had been elected (and he only lost because the Democratic establishment wouldn’t (and still doesn’t) punish Lieberman for his many sins), there would be one less problem, and it would have sent a message.

    As their nominee in 2006, the Democratic Party should have thrown their support behind Lamont (financial support, organizational support, and rhetorical support). If they didn’t do that, or did so half-heartedly, then I see your point. But even if that was the case, ultimately it was Connecticut voters that put Lieberman back in office.

    As someone on the outside of this discussion (not being a Democrat, though I did vote for Clinton twice and don’t regret it on policy grounds, at least), it looks like many of you are missing the idea that Congresspeople are supposed to be beholden to their constituents first, and Party second. It just might be possible that these annoying Democrats have staked out positions you don’t agree with because that is what the majority of their constituents want them to do.

  9. #9 Oran Kelley
    November 24, 2009

    Oran – ‘GET SOMEONE ELECTED WHO SUITS YOU BETTER’. Have a look at Act Blue, daily Kos, etc. More Democrats – better Democrats – thats their motto. Why do you think Lieberman was targetted? As Mike points out, if Lamont had been elected (and he only lost because the Democratic establishment wouldn’t (and still doesn’t) punish Lieberman for his many sins), there would be one less problem, and it would have sent a message.

    Bull: Lamont was a weak general election candidate who stood little chance in an election with Lieberman and an even weaker republican. He’d have lost regardless of whether the Democrats punished Lieberman.

    If Daily Kos think they have a strategy to actually win, more power to them. Personally I think the activist left represents a small portion of the electorate and there’s a very long row to hoe. Particularly with supporters like Mr. “bribery & the status quo” who seem to believe politics involves spreading fairy dust and magically solving all the problems and resolving all the conflicts. Those are the kind of people who make better enemies than friends.

    The West Wing was a fantasy: it was what they knew we wanted to hear. That doesn’t mean it’d work to get you a health care bill more to your liking.

    What I’m saying regarding this post is stop congratulating yourselves on electing a majority Dem congress that doesn’t actually support your agenda and then bitching when they don’t deliver it. That’s stupid.

  10. #10 Bob
    November 25, 2009

    Two words: Deliver, bitch.

    We didn’t bust our ass and write all those checks to coddle the likes of Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman or bend over the first time a Republican opens his crybaby mouth.

    Political capital is worthless unless used. You are not going to win over the hard-core Republicans Birchers so striving for bipartisanship is a loser’s game. Give the moderate Republicans a voice and some minor influence to bridge the current rift and shift the political center of gravity but brook no moderate regressive bullshit from Dems. Find a bus and toss them under it.

    I know, the Dems can pull in plenty of cash playing the same loser’s game they’ve played for a decade or more. It’s safe and it keeps the Beltway Bandits in cocktail weenies. There’s no incentive to actually act – as long as we’re stuck with this two party system and nobody has put that retarded elephant out of it’s misery, who the hell else are we going to vote for? I mean, having actual progressive principles and sticking to them might actually drive some sanity back into the GOP and make the two party system work again and we can’t have that.

    Play to win or get out of the game motherfucker.

  11. #11 Jay Grassell
    December 1, 2009

    Chill out. As more people become aware of the stealth “progressive agenda”, by the time of 2010 election you may not have a Democrat congressional majority to agonize over.

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