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June 27, 2008 06:36 AM UTC

The voters aren't buying what we Dems are selling

  • 81 Comments
  • by: DavidThi808

The Democratic candidates, the Democratic party, the netroots – all claim that while the Republican party does not provide the policies that most people want, that the Democratic party does. That voters are switching to the Democratic party because of what we offer.

Except not. The actions of our candidates, the actions of our party – both scream out that they believe that the voters do not want what we represent. And actions speak much louder than words. We crucify the Republicans for saying one thing and then doing something different – but we are guilty of the same sin.

Exhibit 1: We are told repeatedly that the Democratic Congress cannot attempt many of our goals until we get more Democrats elected. That the act of trying to get certain bills passed will hurt our chances in November. This argument only makes sense if what we want to see passed is not popular with the majority of the voters. Because if our elected officials believed that these policies will be popular, then bringing up bills to implement them would improve our chances in November, not hurt them.

Exhibit 2: Yes there are limits to what can be done with the present balance of power. To pass a bill requires a bi-partisan effort, crafting something that either George Bush or a lot of Republican congress people find acceptable. But there is much that can be done in the present environment.

James Madison gave congress the power of the purse and gave the house, as the people’s body, the exclusive power to initiate budget bills, for one over-riding reason. Because the power of the purse is the power to wage war. Remove funding and you remove the ability of the King President to wage war. This is not some convoluted dubious rationalization, this is a fundamental part of our separation of powers and is clearly discussed in The Federalist Papers.

With a Democratic majority in the House we can end the war today. We could have ended it a year ago. All that was required was to not put any bill forward to continue funding the war. Yes there would need to be funding for a staged withdrawal, but all of that could have been done if the House had refused to fund the war.

If the Democratic leadership truly believed that the country wants us to exit Iraq, this would have been a political winner. The actions of the Democratic leadership make it clear that they do not think this policy is what the voters want.

Exhibit 3: The recent craven capitulation by the House on the issue of FISA. Again, the Democratic party claims that protecting our constitutional rights and protecting the rule of law are critical. But again, if the party leaders believed that this policy was popular with the voters, why did they choose to give George Bush everything he wanted in this bill? Only if the leadership believes that George Bush’s policies are more popular than the ones our party espouses does their action make sense.

Exhibit 4: The Congress was clearly given the authority to investigate the executive branch. This is clear in the constitution itself as inherent contempt was written in to give the Congress absolute authority to compel testimony. And again, from the Federalist Papers, it was clear that it was expected that the Congress would investigate the executive and by definition that this investigation would not be welcome by the President.

So what has this Congress done when members of the executive have refused to even show up when served a subpoena? They’ve asked the Attorney General, who pre-announced he would take no action, to take those individuals to court. In short, they choose to do nothing.

We have ongoing corruption. We have clear evidence of lawbreaking on the part of the executive. We have a Democratic leadership that says they will aggressively investigate this. They have the tools to compel testimony. But they choose to not do it. Again, the only explanation that makes sense is that they believe the voters do not want to see this happen.

Exhibit 5: Where’s a real comprehensive energy/climate change bill? For the past year this has been a "top priority" for the Democratic party. We have had everyone saying we need a "Manhatten Project" to address this. Yet we have no bill. Not we don’t have one Bush will sign. Not we don’t have one that can pass the Senate (and a good bill would pass the Senate). We’ve got bukus, nada, nothing. Again, if the party believed that the voters wanted to see action here, they would have moved on this. If nothing else, they would have a bill totally marked up and ready to be voted on in January 2009.

I can go on, and on, and on. (Guantanamo could have been shut down by defunding it.) But that’s not the point. The point is our party leadership, and many of our congress people, clearly believe that many of the fundamential policies of the Democratic party are political losers.

I personally don’t think that is true. I think if we proudly legislate as we talk, and we then loudly speak to why we did what we did and why that was the right thing to do, that the voters will embrace that. That it is a political winner, as well as the right thing to do.

And if it’s false? If the voters don’t want what we’re selling? Then lets not be a bunch of hypocritical liars like the Republicans. Lets own up to what we say and at a minimum be the party that acts as it speaks. Because voters will respect integrity.

First posted at Liberal and Loving It

Comments

81 thoughts on “The voters aren’t buying what we Dems are selling

  1. on this? What’s your proof that voters don’t like what we’re selling? When voter registration of Democrats is through the roof and when a generic Democrat is favored over a generic Republican by a huge margin (55%-35% last I saw), it would seem that voters are buying what we’re selling.

    If your theory were true we would see high numbers of unaffiliated voter registration, and roughly low and equal generic repub/dem favorability.

          1. has sterling credentials as arguably the senate’s bravest, staunchest progressive voice with real clout. He has expressed disappointment with Obama’s stand on the FISA legislation but, at the same time, unqualified enthusiastic support for Obama for president.  

            His view is that there are going to be disagreements with any candidate but he believes that Obama will make an outstanding President and be great for progressives on almost all of our issues. Feingold is a lefty pol who knows how to get himself elected and knows what’s what, not a dreamy lefty blogger.

            If Obama is good enough to have the strong support of the magnificent Feingold, that should mean more to serious progressives than MoveOn, KOS, and all the other liberal blogs put together.

            We need to win this thing and we need a smart tough alpha dog politician to do it.  This is no time for soft-headed naivity.  It’s no time to be looking for a Mother Teresa.  It’s time to kick some serious ass.  

            1. I’m not saying we should not support or vote for Udall (although the Udall supporters here sure make that tempting). But we can support Udall and at the same time make it very clear we’re unhappy with his vote on FISA.

              What annoys the snot out of me is the people here who say that the annointed Saint Mark is perfect. There’s no possibility of discussing an issue with those who have drunk the kool-aid.

              1. My idea of perfect and my kid sister’s idea of perfect are different even though we share almost the same world view. My perfect candidate (if one existed) would be her imperfect candidate.

                I certainly have never claimed that Mark Udall is perfect, nor has anyone else that I recall.

                But I have said and I will say again without reservation that he will be the best Senator we have had from Colorado in a long time, and possibly the best ever.

                1. My guess is he’ll be very average and Ken Salazar will outshine him while it’s the two of them in office.

                  And he’ll never come close to being a Gary Hart. With that said, average beats the snot out of Wayne Allard.

                  1. An examination of voting records will demonstrate that Udall is much more progressive-friendly than Salazar.  In fact, that’s why Salazar was the choice to run in 2004.  He was a moderate verging on conservative Dem who was seen as having the better chance to win at the time and Udall was considered too liberal and encouraged to bow out.

                    If Udall isn’t lefty enough for you than you should REALLY be unhappy with Salazar. As for me, I’d be happy to have them BOTH in the Senate and hope that’s exactly what will happen.  

                    1. Let’s wait to see what Salazar’s vote is on FISA before saying for sure but yes, I’ll agree that Udall will probably vote a bit more progressively than Salazar.

                      My comment was meant in terms of impact or effectiveness. Udall has always struck me as a back-bencher (compare him to the rest of the Dems in the Colorado delegation). That’s not per-se a bad thing, by definition most Senators will be a back-bencher.

              2. are the politics of one.

                Nobody agrees on everything–I have a big problem with this vote, but Udall has been one of the ones that I agree with most often.  

                1.    Isn’t that one of the three reasons the GOP got to where it is today?

                    Remember, the blue Koolaid can be as toxic as the red Koolaid.

              3. We are not saying that Udall or Obama or anyone else is perfect.  We aren’t looking for perfect.  We aren’t looking for saintly. We’re looking to kick ass. Try it sometime. It’s liberating.

  2. While many of these are policies I agree with, I think the idea of calling them “fundamental policies of the Democratic party” is incorrect. Certain activist groups have attempted to convince the Dems that these should be fundamental policies.  Some party leaders have half-heartedly supported them in order to get some votes.  Even though I agree with these ideas, I’ve never thought that they were fundamental to the Dems.  But I vote Dem, because I think there is more chance of these ideas at least getting to the table if the Dems are in power.

    1. these are in fact fundamental American beliefs.

      The Iraq war is only reported on 2 minutes a week. Out of sight out of mind.

      David, next time you’re walking down the street ask the first person you see what FISA is.

      Unfortunately Americans are at a breaking point, living paycheck to paycheck and are more concerned about how they’re going to pay their monthly bills, their next bag of groceries, and their next gas of tank.

      As GeoGreg said, these should be issues that concern every American. Unfortunately, most Americans have a lot of other problems to do deal with.

      And as I’ve told several friends and family members before, it took Roosevelt almost a decade to accomplish everything he did. You cannot fix 8 years of Bush-onomics with a snap of the finger. It’s going to take a lot of work, and a lot longer than 2 years.

      However I encourage you to keep the pressure on. Call, write, scream, blog about you’re most concerned with it. But most importantly, GET INVOLVED!

      1. As the average American if it’s ok for the government to listen in on their conversations without a warrant – that you’ll get an answer too. You’re right that Americans aren’t paying a lot of attention to what is happening but that does not mean they don’t have strong beliefs on those issues.

        1. Should the government be able to take reasonable steps to reduce the risk of renewed terrorist attacks or,

          Do you believe the constitution is a suicide pact?

          Udall made the right decision, as did Salazar.  

          1. “reasonable steps to reduce the risk of renewed terrorist attacks.” We weren’t attacked on 9/11 because FISA failed, Bob. We were attacked because our intelligence community and this administration ignored, from the moment they opened up shop on January 20, 2001, all signs that a major operation was in the works to attack the US.

            I have to respectfully disagree with you, Udall and Salazar. We don’t need the Constitution and every freedom we hold dear shredded to protect us.

            We need plenty of things, starting with some genuine leadership that is less myopic in its vision of this country and our relationship to the global community but we don’t need to gut the Constitution to do it.

            1.  “ignored, from the moment they opened up shop on January 20, 2001, all signs that a major operation was in the works to attack the US. ”

              They would have been accused of racial profiling, trashing the constitution, etc.

              I respect your views, but nobody can have it both ways. The critics of Bush, Udall and even Obama who now belabor them for trying to take modest steps toward protecting our security would assail them with 20/20 hindsight if there were another terror attack.

              The point is not that Udall and Salazar have done what they did for political expediency. They did what was right for the

              American people. Maybe not in the eyes of Cindy Sheehan, but that is proof positive that what they did was right.

              1. Read Richard Clarke’s book. I would argue that he has a tad more experience in terrorism than you and he clearly did not have to resort to racial profiling in order to figure out that Al Qaeda was planning an attack on US soil.

                Clinton himself left Bush a briefing on his desk the day Bush took office, alerting him to what he considered the number one threat to this country–Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Bush ignored it. That is a fact. You can ignore that fact if you choose and claim that the world is safer for democracy by giving a big thumbs up to warrantless wire tapping but let’s try not to distort the facts to prove your argument.

                I don’t think the FBI had to resort to racial profiling to figure out that a pilot that didn’t want to bother to learn how to land a plane might have an interest in more than just flying a Cessna.

                Clarke makes my points much better than I do and he pretty much negates all of yours.

                And how did Cindy Sheehan get into this conversation? Kind of a cheap shot at trying to make your point, Bob. I thought you were better than ad hominen attacks.

                1. I respect the right of anybody to cash in by writing a book.  But there are a lot of other books than his. And I’ve read a lot of them.  Intelligence is only clear after the fact. Before, well, it’s another matter.

                  We actually had a lot of warning that the Japanese would attack, though not specifically at Pearl Harbor. We just couldn’t filter it out from the noise. (We actually called an alert, one week early, then dropped our guard.)

                  Read Gordon Prange’s classic work on Pearl Harbor.  Indeed, the whole point of the intelligence we’re trying to gather in this case,  and why we can’t get specific warrants each time, is that it seems to involve filtering calls and emails for certain key phrases that call for closer attention, 99 percent of which are harmless. When you’ve filtered that, you get your warrant and concentrate on the 1 percent that matter. No, the left’s arguments don’t “negate” my points. History negates theirs. Salazar and Udall understand that, which is why I admire them for standing up to the vilification of the left.

                  That’s also why I’m not a Democrat, by the way. I left that party in 1976 because it was hard as a veteran who loves this country to put up with the McGovernite claque that still dominates its views.  

                  1. Should there be oversight of the executive branch’s police powers?  

                    Is the executive branch’s power unlimited in the fullfillment of its article powers?

                    Bob, I’m not being cheeky, I have a lot of respect for you and your opinions.

                    FISA absolutely needs reforms, but I cannot countenance the unlimited data mining of every phone/email of every american and the permanent storage of that data for undefined purposes.  The government didn’t open the mail of every american in WWII and that is the equivalent.  The FISA court developed because of the FBI’s activities against MLK and other peaceful americans.  The current administration spied on quakers and other peace activists.  Oversight is a must if we are to remain a free society.

                    1. is that a telecom whose only offense was responding to a legitimate request by federal authorities by cooperating should be harassed and perhaps put out of business by relentless tort actions. That, and only that, is what the immunity provisions would do. As to why we didn’t read all American’s mail in WWII, it wouldn’t have been practical, would it?   We did open the mail of quite a few folks. Are you familiar with the entire Venona program?

                      If you want to criminalize the patriotic actions of telecoms, make it prospective: from this date forth, you shall not love your country! But don’t make it ex post facto.

                      As to the fourth amendment, it isn’t absolute. Why is it that you understand the 2nd amendment can’t be absolute, because no right can be made absolute without negating all other rights, but you can’t adopt the same balancing act with the 4th?  Data mining is a means to an end.  As I said, 99 percent of what it turns up is quickly seen to be dreck. After that first rough cut, then drag out the warrants…and exclude all information from any prosecution, even after a warrant, if you like, on grounds of fruit of the poisoned tree. But the information thus obtained can be used to prevent terrorist acts, which is more important than prosecuting them.

                      That;s what the government did with Venona, our long campaign of reading the Soviet codes.  We actually had the goods on an atomic traitor who did far more damage than the Rosenbergs. We cut him off totally from the a-bomb project but never prosecuted the little creep, because doing so would have exposed the existence of Venona.  The Rosenbergs, who show up in Venona, were prosecuted on the base of other evidence, especially their brother’s testimony. Even Alger Hiss, a Venona target, was prosecuted only for Perjury, not for espionage, though in that case because the statute of limitations had expired on espionage, but not on the basis aof the Venona intercepts.

                      The jihad, and that is what it is, against the telecoms is not an effort to guard our freedoms, it’s a bid by the tort boys to get a few more billions in damages. At the expense of the public they pretend to serve.

                      The bill approved by Udall and Salazar did the right thing by bringing prospective cases under oversight but not authorizing an expost facto persecution.  

                    2. 1. Telecoms–If it was a “legitimate request”, there would be no liability.  Not every Telecom complied (I think qwest was one of those), and I think letting the others off sends the wrong message.  However, one of the offers (one that I would have supported) was indemnification from the Feds.  This would have allowed the suits to go forward and the truth of the abuses to come out without endangering the poor defenseless telecoms.

                      2.  Balancing–Its right in the text “unreasonable.” Very few think we should all be subject to government administered drug tests, but what would be normatively different than that?  Afterall more americans are killed in drug violence than in terrorism violence.   I think subjecting ALL americans to the posibility of monitoring of their personal private communication is a gross abuse of our rights and far outstrips the reasonable standard.

                      3.  My understanding of Venona is limited, but my understanding is that is was a decryption of Soviet diplomatic codes.  That probably implicated folks at Los Alamos and gave probable cause to monitor them and their communication.  In addition, every one in the US with a high level security clearance knows they are subject to monitoring as a condition of their maintaining a clearance.

                      Side note–though Julius was clearly a spy and got what he deserved (although the selection of the judge was directed by the AG in a way that compromised the judicial system), I have always felt Ethel got a raw deal.  She shouldn’t have been executed.

                      I would gladly give the telecoms immunity if people in the executive branch were charged criminally for violating the law and our constitutional rights.

                    3. Ethel was just as guilty as Julius. As a public relations gesture, I wish Ike had spared Ethel, but Ethel was in it up to her eyeballs. Venona is just an example, though a damn good one, of how the intelligence game is played.  Our enemies don’t play by marquis of Queensbury rules and we can’t either.  

                      Ethel, by the way, had quite a sense of public relations on her own. In a letter to Ike pleading for mercy, she began:

                      “You, whose name is one with glory”

                       not a bad line.  

                      The truth about the Rosenberg’s is that they tried very hard to betray their country. But in fact, their espionage was chump change. The traitor Klaus Fuchs, a top physicist at the project, was sending the Russians all the top data.  The most the Greenglass sketch and other stuff did was to give minor cordroboration to the Russians that  we were indeed working on an implosion lens, as well as the gun bomb that we set off at Hiroshima.

                      Their intent was to be traitors, their net contribution was to be catspaws in an international soviet propaganda campaign.

                      Fascinating case.  

                    1. I never even fucking heard of him until he wrote a book.

                      And again, Clarke does not equal the “left.” If you read his book and listened to him in interviews, I’m fairly certain you would acknowledge he is quite hawkish on defense.

                      Let’s try not to exaggerate in order to make our points, shall we?

                    2. you STILL wouldn’t have heard of Clarke.  That’s the way the hive works.

                    3. that you and I are not going to see eye to eye on this and just respect that and suggest we both move on here?  🙂

                      Seriously, thanks for the discussion. It was interesting, as always, Bob.  

  3. Yes David.

    Exhibit 1:  You are quite correct, we could pass bills now, sacrifice the majority, which I would like to remind you is almost non-existent in the Senate.  We could still pass the bills now if they are as good of ideas as our represenatives seem to pass them off as, but sometimes waiting until after the election cycle is worth it.

    Exhibit 2:  You are quite correct, in the House where we have a sizeable majority we could have easily stopped funding the war.  You do also make a good point that it requires a sensible and intelligently funded timetable to bring everyone home.  Pity we dont have a president that would veto anything like that in order to force congress to either starve our troops while they are bravely fighting for our country, or to pass regular funding while we bide our time, do our best at damage control and wait until we have Democrats in control of two of the branches of national government.

    Exhibit 3:  I am reserving judgement until I do more research on the topic of FISA, but I would like to point out that you have very clearly spoken your mind and someone is looking for their soapbox.

    Exhibit 4:  While many of the actions of our current administration are illegal and warrant impeachment, it is possible, even likely that they people who would replace them would be worse.  Again, we could simply wait it out and fight the good fight in Congress and by registering massive numbers of new Dems.

    Exhibit 5:  Energy, you have a point, but the people who have been talking most about energy and legislation to take care of the problem have been candidates, that means they are running, not writing bills.  Give it time.  This is the modern world, we are entering a new era and all, but its still politics, and nothing is fast, especially not by the standards of idealistic bloggers like us.

    David, I normally agree with what you say, I think you are a totally reasonable guy and that 99% of the time you are right on the mark, but I gotta come out and say that I more or less think you are totally and completely off the mark with this one.

    -Eric

    1. Mark Udall (a/k/a Satan) had a revolutionary energy package in the House this session. It passed by a wide margin, only to fail in the Senate by one vote.

      As has become David’s standard practice, he’s bloviating about the fiction in his head because he’s either unwilling or unable to examine reality.

      I blame it on the thin air where he is on Mars. Makes it hard to think rationally.

      1. you silly blogger.  If you didn’t have you head in the rarefied air of your innards you would see the concern for our professional politicians walking the walk when it comes to promoting the progressive vision of a peaceful, prosperous and pluralistic society.

        There is a reason Congress is held in lower regard than President Bush.  Many many progressives such as Dave are dismayed by the cowardly retreat from progressive solutions by supposedly Democratic politicians.  If Democratic politicians don’t believe in the progressive vision then why should progressives support their candidacies?  We used to call them platforms which allows voters to choose between competing ideas but the rise of the Ken Salazars and Mark Udalls have blurred things to the point that progressives have no idea how their candidates will vote once in office.  You are obviously an intelligent person silly putty but you either work for the state party or have been drinking a lot of Kool-Aid lately to believe that Salazar or Udall represent anyone other than themselves. Personal victory trumps promotion of progressive causes with these people.  Udall seems stuck in 2002 concepts and in promoting himself as Republican lite.

      2. My point was that all the noise about it is coming from candidates, so we cant realistically expect the level of action in congress to match that until we elect a few more people.  This is not to say that nothing is happening.

    2. I think David is taking this blogging thing way too far and attempting to generate discussion and debate (or controversy) for no good reason.

      Fine, if that’s the motive, great; be upfront about it.  Just debating for the sake of controversy, well, IMHO that’s not a good use of ColoradoPols web space.  

      It is my belief that David’s post is disingenuous to the fact that many times real change happens when the political planets are aligned.  An example of this political alignment happened with a Republican White House and Congress; and we are all paying the price for it.

      David — if you really cared about you wrote, then perhaps you would have “framed” this conversation much differently. I see your write up as being critically destructive instead of being positive for change.  Sure, there are realities.  After working high-technology for over 25 years, I’ve seen many stupid business people do an absolutely terrible job of framing the problem; it’s always black or white with no ‘grays.’ Your tech background is showing here in your writing without thinking realistically what change means, how to get stuff done, instead of burning down the house because people aren’t standing up to doing stuff now or in the past.  I am sickened by 8 years of Bush, the war, the economy, 50,000 tech jobs gone forever within the Denver-Boulder area, etc.  In the end, your missive could pile on the negatives, but I’m not going there.  Because this country and the upcoming millenials will become our newest “Greatest Generation” — if given the challenge, Americans respond regardless of party affiliation.  I for one I’m optimistic about this country’s future as we finally clean house and get the political planets re-aligned.  Witness what’s happened in Colorado these last couple of years.

      My respect for your intelligence and reporting has dropped a notch.  Even though you blindly supported Jared Polis, I always respected your opinion.  I will still read your blog(s) as they are entertaining and thoughtful.  For now, I wish you would have used your time more wisely than writing this BS.

       

      1. First off, thank you for a thoughful response. Yes I am trying to generate debate – I assumed that was obvious in my post, but I guess it wasn’t.

        I think this is an important discussion. I think a large part of the reason the Republican party is such a disaster now is they did not have these discussions. And when they did, they were quiet ones after the election.

        The key items is not to win, it’s to win with a team that both can and will effect good change for the country. To do that, I think we need to hold our candidates accountable now, when they are very focused on our approval. Not sink them, but make them listen to us. (I wonder if Mark Udall has heard anything negative from a single voter.)

        As to my support for Jared Polis, I thought about it over a couple of days. When I started I was favoring Joan Fitz-Gerald. But as I went through weighing everything, I ended up favor Jared – which surprised me.

        You can disagree with who I picked and why. But I don’t think it was done blindly.

    1. Was it cool when our Democratic majority in the House and Senate did the following?

      Took impeachment off the table, before Pelosi had finished picking out the drapes for her new office.

      Passed/caved in on FISA. Yeah, great idea–our government obviously needs broader powers to spy on us. Fuck warrants–those are so antiquated.

      Passed/caved in on a war funding bill when the alternative would have been to stand strong and let Bush veto it and then explain why he refuses to fund our troops in the field. But nope, instead we have more troops in Iraq now and an even slimmer chance of bringing them home.

      Because, you know, I gotta tell ya, I’m not paying these people to do whatever it takes to get them re-elected. I’m paying them to represent me and to represent my interests and to uphold the goddamn Constitution.

  4. but let’s not kid ourselves for one second.  They are indeed just your opinions.

    In the course of an average Congressional budget negotiation, how many times to you think the name Madison or the Federalist Papers are invoked?  It’s nice that you pulled that Intro to PoliSci catch-phrase “power of the purse” out of your back pocket, but this isn’t your freshman year of college.

    Sure, the budget “starts” in the House…your beloved “people’s body.”  But in the real world, this only happens after conferring with the Senate, White House, OMB, CBO, and about a dozen other agencies.  It’s not like Mark Udall hops on the back of his trusty steed, bounds up the steps of the Capitol and drops a version of the budget into the hopper in the well of the House.

    And what does having a majority have to do with anything?!  You say Dems can stop the war now by just not introducing a bill because we’re in the majority?  Riiiight…great plan.  So then the president refuses to sign every other spending bill Dems pass.  Hell, we wouldn’t pass any bill through the Senate b/c repbs would simply never allow then to come to the floor until Dems “keep Uhmerika safe from terrrrists by funding the war.”  It’s called politics and this is a game Dems would not only lose, but go down in flames for losing.  Anyone want to argue that Congress looked good during the gov’t shutdown under Newt and Clinton?

    For every Dave Thielen, Skyler, and GoBlue we  piss off, there’s a Jim Webb, Jon Tester, and Heath Shuler waiting to take their place.  The best part is, Dave and GB will still be voting a basically straight Dem ticket come Nov anyway!  

    So hey, if you want every moderate and “bluedog” dem who got elected in 06 to get their ass kicked in 08, cut off funding.  Cite Madison and the Federalist Papers.  Us elitists in Boulder will love it, but the people in western NC, PA, TX, Upstate NY, MT and every other damn place we won swing districts, will crucify their moderate dems and hand the seat back to a repub.  See how much say dems have in the minority again.

    Alright, mini-rant over.  Happy Friday all!

    1. But keep in mind the war funding legislation has followed all other legislation. The most recent bill is moving through right now. If that had been killed, there really isn’t anything the Republicans could have refused to move on.

      And this would have played differently than the Gingrinch shutdown. In that case Gingrinch forced the shutdown. In this case we Dems could keep passing bills in the House and it would be the Republicans shutting everything down. Yes it would have been bad politically – but for the Republicans.

      As to all of us still voting Dem regardless, I may leave my vote for Senator blank. The more I hear from the Udall supporters here the less impressed I’m with the guy. I keep telling myself they may not represent the campaign – but a voice in my head keeps saying “hey, they probably do.”

      1. If dems cut war funding, repubs don’t move on any of the appropriations bills for the next fiscal year. In fact, the defense approps bill (not for the war) hasn’t even made it out of committee yet.  This is of course the budget the “should” be passed before Oct 1…before the election.

        http://thomas.loc.gov/home/app

        Sure, dems could keep passing bills through the House…but not through the Senate.  Hell, the president would even end up looking like a good guy!  He wouldn’t even be involved!  And if the economy shit-show keeps happening, no one is going to care about the dems standing on principle and ending the war.  They’ll just be pissed the govt is shutdown.

        And bravo for you, don’t vote for Udall.  That’s a choice I’m fine with (as if I needed to approve your voting choice  😛 )

  5. I’m taking my bumper stickers off of my car.

    I’m drafting an e-mail to Obama, Udall, Perlmutter, Polis, and Gagliardi and asking for my contributions to be returned just as soon as I post this.

    I’m burning my voter regstration card tonight when I get home.

    Thanks for helping me see the light.

    Not.

        1. is if we give them a pass on everything, they’ll do what we prefer less and less because of the lack of pressure.

          Feedback does not mean a circular firing squad. This idea that we must not critisize our own candidates is a receipe for politicians who will concentrate on getting elected rather than doing what’s best for the country.

          1. and THEN pressure them when we feel it’s appropriate and THEY, rather than a bunch of Republicans who aren’t at all interested in our views, are in a position to respond to that pressure.

            I know I would have preferred having the most imperfect Dem as my CD 6 Rep all these years rather than Tancredo, for instance.  Every time I get one of those e-mails asking me to call my congressman about something, I know it’s just a complete waste of time. May as well “pressure” a turnip.

            On the other hand, our input CAN have an effect on the decision making of a moderate Dem like Salazar. He may piss me off sometimes but he is a whole lot better on a wide range of issues than any Republican in our congressional delegation.  We have to ELECT Dems in order to HAVE Dems to  pressure in the first place.

      1. than a circular firing squad my esteemed blogging buddy.

        What we have seen the last eight years are people eager for power who have sacrificed their ideals to get elected.  We have also witnessed supporters who have looked the other way time and time again when their chosen politicians radically depart from the philosophies and platforms of their political persuasion.  The result has been an unmitigated disaster for Republicans.  They now have a president who has presided over the highest rate of increase in federal government in modern times.  No thoughtful Republican would have considered that a good idea when they were voting for George Bush.

        I think Dave asks the relevant question about how we hold our candidates accountable to our shared vision.  If you continue to look the other way every time Udall squawks out something about catching Bin Laden dead or alive are you enabling behavior that is dangerous to our political party and the country?  How do you get a Mark Udall to recognize that this isn’t 2002 and playing Republican Lite isn’t in our best interest?  Bernie Sanders from Vermont is an independent Senator who walks the walk.

        We should be able to learn from the unhappy Republicans and not simply look the other way when our professional politicians engage in smarmy behavior.  

        1. An ideologue who loses, or a pragmatist who wins?

          Keeping in mind of course that the loser doesn’t get elected and the winner does–a piece of the equation lost on many people.

  6. Every measurable trend favors the Democratic Party heavily.

    There’s literally not a shred of empirical evidence that supports your position.

    There are plausible explanations for all of your examples besides the ones you have proferred.

    For number 1, what bills are not being brought to a vote? What is happening is the House is passing progressive legislation and that legislation gets bottled up by fillibustering Republicans in the Senate. Plenty of progressive legislation has come to a vote and passed in the House by good numbers.

    For number 2, it’s clear that the country does want to see the war end. Look at every poll out there. Democratic leadership is playing it safe. After decades of being told they were soft on national defense they have internalized those criticisms and operate with a learned helplessness.

    For number 3, the capitualtion can be attributable to leadership covering their own complicity. Or that they actually support the warrantless wiretapping. Progressives get in trouble when they assume the leaders of the Party actually share their ideology on every issue.

    For number 4, see number 2 – learned helplessness. Also they are trying to avoid a constiutional showdown. Any subpoena would have to be enforced by the DOJ. That’s not going to happen so then Congress would be forced to take Bush to court and who knows what the outcome would be. That’s a dangerous game to be playing, you cannot afford to set the wrong precedent and handicap Congress in perpetuity.

    For number 5, there are political calculations to consider beyond the popularity or lack thereof with the public.

    I have to run but in short I think you are vastly oversimplifying the thought process that our elected officials engage in when approaching an issue. It goes far beyond a mere “Is this popular?” calculation. Beyond that you are ignoring every piece of empirical data on these issues, electoral trends and the popularity of the Democratic Party. On top of that you offer no hard data of your own, just conjecture.  

    1. I said “I believe” it does. What I did say was that there is a major disconnect between what the party tends to say and what they are doing. And I think that clearly exists, and I think you do too based on your comment.

      1. Yes, very clearly there is a disconnect between what the party says and what they do on some issues. I just don’t think that the disconnect is because the positions are “not popular.”  

    1. It’s a disease, at this point, with both parties.

      FISA passed the House 293-129 (one Republican and 128 Dems voting against it.)

      How do you think it passed the House? Because over one hundred Democrats voted for it.

  7. To follow up a bit on my earlier comment, I would say that it is wrong to assume that the Democratic Party is, by its nature, progressive.  The party agrees with some “progressive” ideas, but it can’t really come forth with a coherent position on some core issues.  Civil rights for sexual minorities would be one example.  Some Dems are strongly in favor of civil marriage equality, some are not.  The 2004 platform calls for marriage to be defined at the state level.  In other words, states should be allowed to prohibit same-sex marriage.

    The Democratic Party is by no means a pacifist party, or even particularly opposed to the use of military force.  Clinton bombed Iraq off and on for 8 years.  He supported intervention in some conflicts (Kosovo) but not others (Rwanda).  Many Dems infamously voted for the Iraq War, despite the questions already in the air about the flawed intelligence used to support the Bushies’ case.  “People of good will disagree about whether America should have gone to war in Iraq,” said the 2004 platform. That is not the statement of an anti-war party.  For anti-war groups to get offended that the Dems don’t fall right in line with them is emotionally based, not based on any historical actions of the party.

    What I think distinguishes the Dems is that they are at least willing to discuss these issues.  The GOP seems to suppress internal dissent at every opportunity.  The Dem leadership, while not thrilled by dissent, recognize that their coalition would fall apart if all dissent were to be suppressed.

    Of course, some people will not be happy with the results.  But in our political system, leaving the major parties just results in complete exclusion from the discussion.  This may not be “right”, but that’s how it works.

    1. But I think at a minimum the Dems promised to force better actions on Iraq, civil liberties, etc. Maybe not plan A but there was a clear message that there would be change for the better.

      I also agree with your comment:

      What I think distinguishes the Dems is that they are at least willing to discuss these issues.  The GOP seems to suppress internal dissent at every opportunity.  The Dem leadership, while not thrilled by dissent, recognize that their coalition would fall apart if all dissent were to be suppressed.

      but the Udall-ites here seem to have missed that part.  

        1. But in our political system, leaving the major parties just results in complete exclusion from the discussion.  This may not be “right”, but that’s how it works.

          And that’s what I meant… vote for Nader (or Barr or whomever), and you’re out in the cold.

          I think the “dissenters” need to stay with the Dems and try to influence the party.  I think the party leaders need to accept them.  But I don’t think the dissenters should pack up their toys and go home when they don’t get their way.  That’s not democracy; it’s childish.

        2. very often Arv but that was one of them.  Pinning Gore’s loss on “dissent” is BS.

          It is like blaming poor car sales on auto workers because they want health care coverage and pensions.  That argument always skips the part where it is the high priced auto executives who decide what to build.

          Maybe my friend just maybe Gore lost because the brand was tarnished by peccadilloes and a lackluster campaign?

          If “dissent” exists then a reasonable person would ask why and then attempt to determine if the underlying cause is correctable.

          In my opinion one of the easiest ways for Udall to deal with this current “dissent” is to have an open dialog with those who are frustrated by his contradictory votes.  Set up an open mike and stay until everyone has stood up and said their piece.  It won’t happen of course because of the fear of Republican plants but Udall engages in a lot of unnecessary avoidance.  If he was more open to listening to the lefties in the party , they wouldn’t be so hostile towards him.

          1. that all of those votes for Nader were actually FOR Nader?

            I don’t think so.  I think, and polls have shown, that they were not FOR Nader, but an attempt to send a message to Democrats in general, and to Gore specifically.  

      1. But outright falsehoods, name calling, and vindictiveness is not dissent. It’s just dishonest, bad behavior.

        As Mark Udall is fond of saying (I believe his dad said it first), you can disagree without being disagreeable.

  8. but the people ARE, in fact, buying what Democrats are selling.

    Democrats have picked up three open Republican House seats in the past 6 months (including former Speaker Denny Hastert’s seat in Illinois…a vacnat seat in Louisiana and a vacant seat in MISSISSIPPI, of all places).

    If this is the public not buying what Democrats are selling, I’m not sure we want them to….

  9. First off, my diary above did not mention Mark Udall by name. You assumed it was aimed at him, but it was actually pointed at all the elected Representatives playing this game.

    Second, I’d like to quote this diary on DailyKOS. It speaks to this same argument, but about Obama instead of Udall.

    Now, here is what I don’t understand about the criticism of the criticism, and it actually reaches at a central contradiction in the political experience of those of us on the left in America. First, we lefties are repeatedly told that it is necessary for Democrats to distance themselves from us in order to win elections. However, we are then we are told that we should be quiet in our criticism of Democrats, even though such criticism overtly distances Democrats from us.

    I don’t get it. Aren’t we helping Democrats out by distancing them from us? Won’t Obama be helped by news stories about how he has angered the left? Won’t it make him look like he has Sista Soulhaj-ed us, or something? Why is our criticism a negative? Either Obama will be helped by distancing himself from the left, or he won’t. And, if he will be helped by distancing himself from the left, then our criticism should actually help him, especially when it starts to appear in news stories like these:

    So why aren’t the Udall supporters thrilled about posts like this? Doesn’t this help with his positioning as being moderate. (Or maybe that’s why the Udall supporter’s posts are designed to P.O. those of us upset over his vote – so we stay upset and keep posting.)

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