Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What's the matter with Democrats

I'm a rampage against anonymously sourced stories, but this is one time when it's warranted. TPM posts an anonymous email from a long time insider staffer on Capitol Hill. It's as depressing as it is illuminating.

First, I admit I don't really understand how the archaic rules of the Congress work, but I've been trying to figure out how the GOP managed to push through so much legislation and block Democratic interference so successfully with a much smaller majority. These excerpts explain some of the tricks.
Every bill came to the floor under a closed rule so we couldn't propose amendments and our Senate colleagues faced a full amendment tree on every bill such that unless they had Republican patron they couldn't get votes either. Kennedy fought like hell for things like minimum wage and sometimes could arm-wrestle a procedural vote win out of them but things would just die in the hands of the Hammer in the House. ...

The Republican Majority in the House had steadily eroded so that by the end of the Clinton years they had only a 5 seat cushion (223) in the House, but their strong majority in the Senate (55) kept them firmly in control. ...

We got occasional fig leaves, and maybe could get a witness or two included in a hearing, but were essentially not a part of the final discussions to put together bills. ...
And this explains why Reid is such an epic failure as the Senate *leader*.
It was disheartening when it seemed that Reid was allowing McConnell's disingenuous narrative of "it's always taken 60 votes to get anything done" to take hold, but we were later even saved from that when Specter switched. ...

Of course, it didn't make any difference because Reid simply refused to use his power to push the Dem's agenda. But here's the really depressing part.
The worst is that I can't help but feel like the main emotion people in the caucus are feeling is relief at this turn of events. Now they have a ready excuse for not getting anything done. While I always thought we had the better ideas but the weaker messaging, it feels like somewhere along the line Members internalized a belief that we actually have weaker ideas. They're afraid to actually implement them and face the judgement of the voters. That's the scariest dynamic and what makes me think this will all come crashing down around us in November.
I've suspected since Coakley started to crash that the national Dems deliberately let her implode just so they could have their excuse for self-serving spinelessness back. Seeing it affirmed makes it all the more tragic. And infuriating.

I urge to read the whole thing. It's an education.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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Blogger Joe "Truth 101" Kelly said...

This makes perfect sense Libby. How many Democrats are just as much in bed with corporate interests as republicans. It's in their interests to clandestinely allow good ideas and legislation to die.

My fealty to the Democratic Party is waning.

10:10:00 PM  
Blogger (O)CT(O)PUS said...

I thought this Chris Floyd diatribe might be worth sharing here:

It is not just Obama's agenda, of course. It is the agenda of the Democratic Party: war, empire, and corporate profit über alles. Is this really worth defending, even with a held nose? Yet progressives and liberals will continue to insist that, bad as it is, we've got to keep supporting the Democratic Party – because there is no alternative, because otherwise, Tea Party torture mavens like Scott Brown or Sarah Palin will get elected.

But as we've already noted above, it is the Democratic agenda itself that is opening the door for extremist opponents, who then exploit the genuine dissatisfaction and genuine suffering caused by that agenda. The fact that these opponents also support the same core agenda means that the nation will keep ping-ponging back and forth, with an electorate hungry for change desperately chasing anyone who promises it – only to rush back in the other direction when the 'change agent' proves to be just another stooge of the status quo.

Worth a read.

2:59:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Truth, if there was a way to build a third party that's viable I wish somebody would do it.

Great quote 8pus. I love Floyd. Even he scares me most of the time.

8:56:00 AM  

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