Tuesday, December 22, 2009

HAHAHAHAHA! Democrats in Congress are not smart

This report states, " . . . Democrats say the apparently unbridgeable health care divide has convinced them that Republicans are dedicated solely to blocking legislative proposals for political purposes. Several said they now realized that they would have to rely strictly on their own caucus . . ."
Gee, it only took them 15 years to figure that out! Too bad the country has been blown all to hell in the interim. Way to go, Dems!

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Politics: Democrats, you're not doing it right

So, let's say you're the Democratic Party. In control (by a large majority) of the House of Representatives. In control (by almost a filibuster-proof majority) of the Senate. In control of the White House. Passing your Party platform legislation should be easy. Instead, we have an escalation of the wars we inherited from Smirky and his pals, all legislation and/or Executive order regulations regarding LGBT rights have been shunted off to some nebulous future time, no investigations or prosecutions of felonious acts by the previous Administration have been initiated, and no serious legislation helping anyone other than bankers and other high end industrial or financial businesses has been passed.
What the fuck are you doing?
The ultimate cynic in me thinks: "Well, this is because the Democratic Party is either bought and paid for by lobbyists, or the Democratic Party has shifted so far to the right that they are getting exactly what its members actually want (or both)." But let's humor those who still think Obama and the rest of the Party honchos care about humans other than themselves for a minute and have instead been played by those political sharpies like Joe Lieberman, Olympia Snowe, and even sociopathic subnormals like Tom Coburn or Mitch McConnell. How could the first year of this Administration have gone differently, to the benefit of the Party, as we head into the off-Presidential election year when, by all accounts, we are instead going to get slaughtered?
If politics is the art of the possible, the first thing an actual political leader must do is find out what that is. For example, let's deal with the elelphant in my post--Health Care Reform. A simple questionnaire could have been circulated the day after the election last November to all of the Democrats coming into office, asking them what kinds of things each of them wanted in any legislation having to do with health care reform. Nothing threatening, nothing too hard: just, "What do you think we should do to help our constituents on the matter of health care?" The Majority Whip, or more precisely, his/her aides could then compile all the answers and then provide those to whomever wanted to write the bill. The writer could then write that bill, the Majority Leader would then put it in the hopper, and then the Senate would then vote on it. No need for conferences, or CBO scoring, or anything.
Why no need? Because the Democrats are in the majority, that's why. They get to determine what gets voted on and when, and by what mechanism bills get created. If some weird rule that this procedure violates exists, take it out of the organizing resolution at the beginning of the session. Why would that be possible? Because the Democrats are in the majority, that's why. There are plenty of parliamentary procedures available to the majority to ensure the swift passage of these kinds of rule changes, even in the ponderous Senate.
With the Health Care bill, we wouldn't have a problem with cloture votes, for two reasons: 1) we've already included everything the Democratic Senators want in the bill in the first place; and 2) Republicans don't have enough votes to stop us anymore.
But let's say that a "Democrat" or 2 or 3 think to themselves, "Ah, ha! If I threaten to join the neanderthal Republicans, I can extort my own Party to get more stuff!" And then proceed to do exactly that, proving that they are indeed, not representing anyone or anything except themselves and their own egos (otherwise, their desires would have been accounted for already during the bill's creation). What can a principled and effective Party leader, whether s/he is named Obama, or Reid, or Emmanuel, do then? And it is here that it gets stickier, and where the real world Democratic chiefs are completely, blindly, and ridiculously stupid.
1st option: Tell the opportunist to get bent and threaten some internal punishments.
Strip him/her/them of chairmanships, deny them cracks at writing bills, take away opportunities to lard bills with pork, use executive power to close military bases, etc.
2nd option: Give the opportunist pie, but only on some other matter. "You scratch my health care back and I'll give you the sweet deal on this new state entitlement package." A classic.
3rd option: Tell the opportunist to get bent, make the extortion public knowledge, and hold vote after vote to show the world who stands where. This is the one that is not getting used at all by the current leadership. Joe Lieberman doesn't like something? Get his vote down on it--get him on record as denying people health care, or that he just voted to extend soldiers' stay in harm's way. This works especially nicely against Republicans, of course, since they are all about obstruction. They will consistently vote against anything that might help anyone other than themselves, so this should be a no-brainer. Create a bill that gives everyone ponies and ice cream, then let the Republicans and Lieberman (or whomever) vote against it. Then go on as many shows as possible--heck, buy ad time and do an infomercial, if the mainstream media won't give you airtime--and let the public know who is keeping you from getting your Shetlands and sundaes. Buy ad time on Fox News to tell the crazies that their favorite scumbag just denied them free healthcare. Place an ad during "American Idol" to let everyone know how and why they can't get a cushy government job--because all Republicans and Mary Landrieu voted the new New Deal down. This is so simple it hurts. And this is how politics is supposed to work. If someone takes a stand, s/he has to make it public, so everyone can see what s/he believes in. No secret holds, no silent filibusters. If someone blocks good legislation, make them pay for it by exposing their perfidy. Rinse and repeat. This is the only way to wash the filth out of the system at this point, and refusing to do so betokens massive corruption that will kill this country.
I only hope it isn't already too late. (I'm afraid it is.)