Democrats & Liberals Archives

Show Some Guts

I guess the Democrats dodged that bullet! The people advising these folks were wrong, as were the Representatives. They flinched when they heard the shots the Republicans were firing at them, and managed to move right into the path of the bullet.

If these people really want to play it safe, how about doing what most of the Country wants them to do? How about siding with most people? If we're going to stick our fingers in the air, folks, lets have the intelligence to read which way the wind is blowing.

I think a large part of what's played into this failure of judgment is the ingrained fear that the Reagan years and the Republican Congressional majority ground into members of our party of offending the sensibilities of the right, of seeming soft by their standards on defense, by suggesting any kind of rise in taxes, or assertively recommending the intervention of the government on the public's behalf.

That made a certain kind of sense when these movements were at their height, when the public was shifting towards center and right. The pendulum, though, is no longer swinging in that direction. More than half of Americans identify themselves at least liberal leaning. We've taken over the Congress, and on many issues have the public mandate.

Just what are we hiding from now? Are we scared that we're going to lose it if we don't follow the Republican's lead? The thing there is the Republicans, following their own lead, have lost to us. To allow their opinions to haunt our political calculations is to give more credit to the power of their political influence than is properly due.

Americans elected our party to the majority to put the breaks on the Bush administration. They essentially told us, "go kick his ass!". They want us to get in his way, to be an obstacle to his will.

Democrats in Washington need to realize that their timidity in the face of the Bush administration is not shared by voters. If so, it's not to their advantage to cave in.

But, of course, they did that anyways, and now their numbers are back in the toilet. Is this how we build power, is this how we keep the majority in the long term? No. We do not win the trust and the continued support of the American people by sharing in the delusions of the man we were given the majority to stop.

I will allow for the fact that we don't want to screw up this policy, but I do not see how defering to the president on this issue helps that. If Bush wants to veto things, let him, and let those vetoes reinforce his unfitness for command. If we keep our side of things up, we have the advantage when the elections come around. We have the policy direction that we can proudly, openly stand up for, and the Republicans have one that they have to sell to a very skeptical public. We can oppose the continuation of this war wholeheartedly, while the Republican's canditates have to split their loyalties between the Iraq war, and the will of the people.

I know I said before that the supplemental bill was a poor battleground for the fight in question. I still believe that. I do think, though, we could have held out for better, and taken the initiative on the public discussion. I think there's merit to questions of why we are intimidated by a man whose popularity ratings are in the twenties. Why are we scared of offending the sensibilities of his constituency? We can't be all things to all people.

We can, however, be true to our ideals, and true to our mission: to bring the end, or at least the beginning of the end to this war. Meanwhile, on other fronts, we can do ourselves a favor, and start undoing the damage that the Bush Presidency has done.

The political morale in this country is pretty low. People will be coming out of this presidency with their spirits in far worse shape than they came in. This President had the opportunity to raise Americans up, to give them hope, purpose, and lead them in a restoration of American greatness. He had that kind of chance, and he blew it. But that wish still exists, and Americans still want America to be great, to be secure, and to be loved by the world. People want hope, they want to feel as if there is a way out of the dark times this President has brought.

We will do ourselves and this country a favor by leading it out of the shadow of George W. Bush. We have the opportunity to start now, and no reason not to move ahead at full steam.

Now if only those folks in Washington understood what you and I understand now: American wants and deserves better than this President's leadership. It's time for the Democrats on the hill to show some guts, to be the leaders that the Republicans and the President they endlessly apologize for failed to be.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at June 14, 2007 9:58 AM
Comments
Comment #223183

I have never been more disappointed in the Democrats. Compromise after compromise with the neo-cons, after they were left out to dry during the wilderness years. The Republicans’ philosophy of no-compromise with Democrats at any cost deserves no-nonsense policies from the Democrats.

We elected them to stop the war. It’s about time they did it.

Damn, I hate criticizing my party so much, but they’re letting the country down almost as much as their predecessors.

Posted by: Jon Rice at June 14, 2007 11:04 AM
Comment #223184

So, what are you guys going to do if your elected Dems don’t “show some guts?” Will you hold them accountable for it?
Seeing how you all went nuts when Richard suggested doing that, I doubt it.

No, what will happen is you all will comfort yourselves by saying “the Republicans would be worse” and only the cheerleaders will change.

It will be business as usual.

Posted by: kctim at June 14, 2007 11:29 AM
Comment #223187

KCtim -

Nah. Not really. We’ll just stop allowing Republican lapdog politicians from winning our primaries. We’ll put free-thinkers in there, optimists, realists, forces for change, empathists, economists, strategists…

Yeah. Right.

Sigh.

Posted by: Jon Rice at June 14, 2007 12:11 PM
Comment #223189

Stephen,
Good article, as usual.

Jon,
Yes, it is tremendously disappointing. I have heard the excuses. Some excuses even have some merit. There is no escaping the fact that a minority party can stop legislation in committee, even very popular legislation.

And, there is nothing that can be done about the fact that not all Democrats are liberals/progressives. There are Blue Dogs and other “conservative” Democrats.

But the bottom line is that this is turning into a disaster for the Democrats. They were elected to stop the corruption- where they are enjoying some modest success, to put it kindly- and to stop the war.

They need to take a stand. But the party is too divided, and lacks the supermajority votes needed to really get something done.

This is truly a depressing time for our government and our country.

Posted by: phx8 at June 14, 2007 12:46 PM
Comment #223192

Jon Rice-
Careful there. If enough Democrats start thinking it’s hopeless, then just how motivated will people be to act?

The problem with our party, at the moment is that when we see no present mechanism for change, we despair. What we should do instead is create that mechanism for change. We did it in the last election and completely reversed the Republican majority. We should not despair of our ability to change things for the better, just because some folks in Washington are living in the conservative-dominated past. What reason do those politicians have to shed their uncertainty about what we called them to do, if we lack that certainty when we insist that they take heed of it? Only when they know that wanting Iraq over is not optional, when they know that they’ll lose more support failing to put the brakes on the war than doing the opposite, will the steel in their spines show up.

kctim-
We will do what we have to do. Don’t forget what happened to Lieberman in the primaries. As long as we don’t get complacent, and don’t look the other way, we have some measure of control over the behavior of the politicians. They just have to know that if they don’t do their job right, we’ll be breathing down their necks.

As for accountability? I think that’s a problem that transcends party boundaries. I think people have gotten under the impression that if they opted out of dealing with politics, and took a cynical attitude towards Washington, they could avoid the conflicts and the disappointments. But because people became disengaged, the politicians have freer reign to do harm, and now things are worse.

And now people are saying the same damn things that got us into trouble in the first place. The Republicans themselves milked the anti-establishment sensibilities dry, doing their best to convince voters that they would be the insider outsiders, the regular Joes who would not act like those beltway bozos. Inside or outside, it’s accountability and grounding in reality that matters. You don’t get either by making saints and saviors or demonic corrupters out of the opposing parties. If the Greens or anybody else got enough power to become major players, they too, being human, would face the problems of corruption. Anybody we hand power to will face that temptation. We need to make giving in to the temptations of corruption and politics a threat to their tenure in office, and care about what they do there. The alternative is overwhelming corruption and incompetence.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 14, 2007 1:08 PM
Comment #223203

Stephen D., the Democratic Party is held hostage to the same forces which caused the Republican Party to fail as the one party of majority. The truth is, though Republicans had the majority in government, they were not in control. Just as Democrats will not be in control, even IF they win the Presidency in ‘08 and acquire a filibuster proof majority in Congress.

When the Supreme Court defined money as speech, it literally gave control of government to the wealthy special interests and told the American working people and their families to piss off and shut up until they have made their first few million in investments. And in so doing, they also gutted the power of political parties to lead this country out of its problems and toward solutions, instead making them subservient to the wealthy special interests and the party’s desire to hold onto majority status in government.

Campaign financing for example of two parties who control all of government was never addressed in our Constitution, yet, these two facts of government (the duopoly parties, and buying legislation through campaign financing) control the vast machinery of our government and most issues it touches in the citizen’s lives. With only 2 parties for the people to choose from, BOTH subservient to wealthy special interest campaign financing, the American people have lost their choice at election. The right to vote is meaningless if the only choices on the ballot are wealthy special interests and wealthy special interests.

If Democrats truly want to change anything for the better in this country, they MUST inform the public and take actions to remove the wealthy special interests from the legislative process, which is to say, they must either overturn the money as speech doctrine, or remove special interest money from campaign financing altogether. But that is like asking a heroin addict to throw away his stash and works. The Democrats are hooked on the special interest money just as hard as Republicans were. That addiction continues to erode the democratic portion of our democratic republic, leaving only the republic controlled by the wealthy special interests.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 14, 2007 6:10 PM
Comment #223208

David R. Remer-
There’s a difference between influence and control, and we have to realize, in order to beat the special interests, that while they can influence elections, they can’t forces us to vote for somebody we don’t like. They have influence, we have control.

While I think we have a substantial problem in our party with special interests, we don’t have the level of organization yet dedicated to serving those interests. According to This article, Lobbyists are encountering an unfamiliar question when they try and relate what they want done on behalf of their special interests: “Why?”

We’re not perfect by a long shot, and there is plenty of need and room for reform. But we are an improvement.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 14, 2007 7:48 PM
Comment #223209

Stephen D., you utterly and completely misunderstood what I wrote. Wealthy Special Interests DON’T control who is elected. They control those who are ELECTED after they are ELECTED, because they control the money needed for their REELECTION. Which is why voting out incumbents is the only way voters can wrest power away from the special interests.

Think about it. Hopefully you will grasp the concept the second time around.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 14, 2007 8:01 PM
Comment #223239

I grasped it well the first time around. A re-election is just an election done over again. The same rules should apply. The special interests raised a whole lot of money on behalf of Republican candidates, but did that mean that the Legislature remained in Republican hands? No.

I’m all for voting out incumbents if they’re behavior lacks in redeeming qualities. That, in fact, is the only way to assert our control on the system. But like I’ve said before, knowledge is important on this count. People have to know what their folks are doing. Democrats, in general, like to remain aware, and remain wary of their folks after years of disappointments.

Saying that wealthy special interests control everything just discourages people. If they control everything, there’s no way out. If they are merely a strong, all too strong influence, then we retain the true power. 2006 proved that Democrats in the rank and file can funnel money just as well as the special interests can. We just have to put our minds to it, and go in with a battleplan suited to do that.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 15, 2007 10:17 AM
Comment #223240

Stephen, I love this line of yours: “Saying that wealthy special interests control everything just discourages people.”

The truth is discouraging, so, just feed them some more lies? Now that’s funny!!! What I would expect from a true Republocrat. The American people need to hear the truth, no matter how discouraging it is. I would go so far as to say that the Presidential candidate that speaks the most truth to the American people, discouraging and otherwise, is likely to be our next president.

With the American people giving this Congress lower marks than Bush, and only slightly better than the marks they gave the Republican Congress at their lowest point, 19% in October, it appears to me Americans want to hear the truth, the discouraging and encouraging truth that will set things right. They certainly don’t think they are getting it from this Congress, or the White House, polls show.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 15, 2007 11:46 AM
Comment #223254

David R. Remer

I have a perfect example for you.

Mitch McConnell, Jon Kyle, Trent Lott an
Kay Baily Hutchison standing in front of the

T V cameras stating that they may bring up the Bill

on Immigration.

Where is Chi-Pet Head Harry REED or any other
Democratic Senator? I demand the Democrats start


showing some back bone an take charge of the
Senate an Congress. The first an best way to do

this would be to “Table the Immigration Bill
an all other non essential business until after


the July break. Tough love but the Democrats
can no longer act like a bunch of wimps!!

Posted by: -DAVID- at June 15, 2007 4:10 PM
Comment #223255

-
To the Idiot pushing e-mails asking people not
to buy Cit-co gas by saying Chavez will use the
the money to terrorize the United States. The
Corporations that are ripping off Americans
are EXXON-Mobile an Shell Oil.

Boycott one of them, besides, who benefits most?
After all Cit-Co is the Company that helped
thousands of Americans with heating oil this
winter, none of the other one hundred forty billion profit companies did. just a thaught.

Posted by: -DAVID- at June 15, 2007 4:33 PM
Comment #223256

David Remer-
There’s a concept in psychology called learned helplessness. It comes about when people are battered again and again by bad circumstances, and take their permanence to heart.

We’ve been conditioned by the last generation to expect the worst from our politicians. We’ve also been conditioned to think we can’t make a difference.

Make no mistake, I do worry about corruption in my party, and find steps they take towards doing what the Republicans have been doing revolting. All that said, it’s as important to break the conditioning, to convince people that something can and should be done by them about this whole mess, rather than fill people’s ears with utter doom and gloom. People need new, good ideas, to replace the terrible ones that have been forced on them. They need to be given the bad news and the ugly truth to push them from complacency, no doubt, but they also need to be given some means, some path towards hope, because otherwise, they will simply learn to live with the ugliness of the situation they’ve been convinced that they can’t change.

That’s why I talk of strong influence rather than control. Control is what we have. They only get it when we give it up, and my message is that people can and should retain their control regardless of what happens.

Elections work like the dissolving of a chemical in solution. The election itself is the solvent. The votes are the substance dissolved within. The winner is the person with the greatest concentration of votes, not necessarily the greatest concentration of a certain belief or political outlook in society. If you don’t add your vote to the mix, it can’t be part of the solution. Only when people vote do they have control, and only when they believe that they have power that the corporations and lobbyist don’t will they exercise that control.

It will not be the most truthful person who wins office. It will be the person who combines the greatest amount of credibility with the sense that America can have a brighter future than what it’s facing now.

The challenge is choosing which person we decide to bestow that credibility upon, and whose optimism we take seriously. The challenge is also getting whoever we elect to mind the shop well. Keeping American politics healthy is a full time job, for each and every American who wants to see something positive done with government, rather than lament the next fiasco.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 15, 2007 5:47 PM
Comment #223259

DAVID, but Ted Kennedy says passing no law is worse than enforcing existing laws. (Yeah, and I have a statue of liberty in Darfur on sale for some stupid buyer.)

The simple fact is, Democrats want this country awash in Spanish speaking immigrants since they believe 70% will be Democratic supporters. And of course, Republicans have been bought by the wealthy special interests seeking to preserve the downward pressure on wages in America to increase Global competitive advantage.

Between the Dem’s and Rep’s in Congress, it is not surprising at all that our borders remain unsecured almost 6 years after 9/11, and illegal immigration will be preserved by their new Swiss Cheese Amnesty Bill.

When a car thief steals a Mercedes and gets caught, is fined $5000, and told he can keep the Mercedes with no jail time, that is not just Amnesty, it is rewarded Amnesty.

That is what illegal aliens will receive with this Amnesty Bill, for breaking our laws to steal the rights of citizenship in this country. A fine, and keep your path to citizenship, no jail time required.

The L.A. County Jail now routinely tells female petty criminals sentenced to jail time of 90 days or less, to just go home - they don’t have room to carry out the court’s sentence. America’s lawlessness is being rewarded from the White House all the way down to our local jails and courts.

Do American voters really believe rewarding criminal behavior is going to make our children safer in this country? It is time for voters to DEMAND our government enforce the laws on the books, or just be honest and tell the people they are declaring Anarchy as the new form of government in America.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 15, 2007 7:24 PM
Comment #223260

David R. Remer-
I can tell you very well myself what I want, and illegal immigration is not one of those thing. If they’re legal immigrants and Democratic supporters- well, you’re right, I wouldn’t complain. But it’s cariacture to suggest that most Democrats would look the other way for what has to be a comparatively small electoral advantage

I think taking care of these issues would be far easier if we started looking at the problem practically, rather than playing in the nebulous regions of headspace. The question is not what’s a tough immigration policy. Tough doesn’t mean right. The question is what works, and what can we live with.

One of the big problems with jails and courts nowadays is we’re confusing toughness and numerical productivity with productive policy. We’re screaming for somebody to save us from our civilizational slump, yet at the same time practically causing it ourselves by overburdening systems we’re too cheap to enhance to carry the load. America has to relearn the virtue of difficult choices. Too often, we pretend that these problems have simple, easy solutions, and beat ourselves and each other silly trying to force idealistic notions on each other. We need something better than that.

As my previous post has indicated, I believe that the current proposal for a guest worker program is worst than worthless. So for what its worth, I hope the current bill goes down to defeat. I’m sick of symbolic victories in politics, because I’ve rarely seen them correspond to the real kind.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 15, 2007 10:10 PM
Comment #223264

Stephen Daugherty- When a person is hitting him self on the head, it really feels great when he
stops. I have been contemplating this immigration
issue for weeks an decided all the Politicians are
not retarded an Bush must have an agenda while
the media is making a killing at the expense of
every one. Since the past has shown that our laws
that are on the books at the present time with
the exception of our ports an some areas along
the Canadian Border need a little tweaking. Every
one just needs to slow down an apply a little
critical thinking,(why the big rush ???)
So how do we convince every one else to stop banging their collective heads together, an get
on the stick an enforce the Laws we now have. With
the hiring of some new Boarder Guards an put this
new Immigration Bill on hold for two years an watch closely how things go.

Posted by: -DAVID- at June 15, 2007 11:09 PM
Comment #223267

Stephen D, we agree entirely on the guest worker program, at least UNTIL we have halted the flow of illegal immigrants across our borders.

But, the root of the problem here is what needs to be addressed. And that root is the politicians looking to political advantage in the next election over seeking long term strategically viable solutions to the major problems facing our nation, not just immigration, but, Soc. Sec., Health care inflation, Medicare, and the absolutely insane free trade agreements which have now spawned China building an auto manufacturing plant just a couple miles from our border in Mexico, which will, under NAFTA, allow them to export cars to America duty free, and compete against our own manufacturers using Mexican labor rates.

China saw this opportunity back when NAFTA was signed, and began their long term economic outreach planning for Africa, S. America, Mexico, and the Middle East, sacrificing ideology and short term gains to secure competitive advantage over not only the American economy but, as we see now, American corporations and employers as well.

This long term planning and sacrifice of short term gains is precisely what our campaign finance system based on the deep pockets of special interests WILL NOT PERMIT our politicians to engage in. Hence, we cannot compete with China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, and India for the long term prize of remaining competitive.

This is why Democrats MUST vote out Democratic incumbents beholding to wealthy special interests and vote in Democrats to replace them, all the while DEMANDING effective campaign finance reform. The Republicans MUST follow this same course, not just for the well being of their party, but, for the salvation of America’s future. For surely, if we allow next year’s election, and each after that to dictate policy and legislation, we will be paralyzed in trying to compete with the long term strategic planning and opportunism of authoritarian capitalist nations like China and Russia, and patriarchal democracies (semi-authoritarian in terms of deference to the their leadership) like India, Japan, Taiwan, and Korea.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 16, 2007 12:27 AM
Comment #223291

David Remer-
I think the problem is more the way people think nowadays than anything else: short term, short horizon. The question becomes what kind of tendencies we encourage. We can’t solve this by changing politicians. We have to solve it by changing our perspective on problems, then letting the social shift in that regard percolate through to the people who represent us.

At the very least, Americans can do their best to depart from the strictly partisan tracts of discussion to something more concerned with the practical nature of things.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 16, 2007 1:16 PM
Comment #223313

Stephen Daugherty-

-You aren’t trying to say (..) put a little
sugar coating on things are ~ you? I believe
the whole country needs to step back an take
two very deep breaths. Then proceed very cautiously
before we have massive despair.?

Posted by: -DAVID- at June 16, 2007 9:56 PM
Comment #223314

Stephen Daugherty- There are very few factual
things when it comes to dealing with human
emotion an capabilities for changing ones mind,
when especially Religion an Politics are
involved. Would the Canadians all agree to speak
All French only, or Cubans give up Spanish?
Not likely, an I like you premise that people
can change, I would however think it would
be much simpler to change Politicians than trying
to change a fractured, Politically galvanized,
electorate.

Posted by: -DAVID- at June 16, 2007 10:28 PM
Comment #223340

DAVID-
The Politicians are chosen and remain in office at the sufferance of the people of our society. We will continue to choose and keep in office the wrong kind of politicians for long-term thinking and planning, for restraint and thoughtfulness, when these are not traits we look for in ourselves. All too often, we want people who talk tough to their political opponents, who get in the soundbite zingers, who never admit fault to their opponents (ours, often enough), and who defy others to flatter our ideology with their words and actions.

If we want to change that, we have to change what we’re looking for. However, if our habits tend towards short-term instant gratification, if we continue to be obsessed with quick riches, with keeping things to ourselves, these sensibilities will translate to the way we choose our candidates. Hell, those will be the most common sentiments in the pool of candidates we have to choose from!

That is not to say that we have to start and finish the whole movement towards restored social sanity in order to get away from these kinds of short-sighted politicians. We can start making better, smarter choices now along both lines, letting one feedback into and support the other. This kind of change depends on what we choose as individuals. We have to learn to make that choice a habit, and learning starts one choice at a time. Nobody said, though, that this single choices can’t serve multiple purposes.

We can’t change people’s minds, though, while we ourselves remain stuck in our ways. As long as we confirm stereotypes, we entrench them on the other side. We must be forgiving if we want forgiveness, helpful if we want help. I’m not expect a Road to Damascus conversion out of everybody. This will be a road of tough choices instead.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 17, 2007 7:58 AM
Comment #223391

Stephen Daugherty-

Why do you suppose all the past, great

Civilizations have fallen? This is a trick

question!
-

Posted by: _DAVID_ at June 18, 2007 12:16 PM
Comment #223404

Stephen Daugherty-
Please disregard my above post. After a second read,
I tend to agree with most of what you say.
I guess people are creatures of habit an each generation will continue to make the same mistakes
as their parents, and their generation will
tend to make mistakes until they begin feeling
great pain, an only then changes are made either
for the good or bad.

Posted by: -DAVID- at June 18, 2007 6:10 PM
Comment #223538

-DAVID—
A number of broad societal problem are emergent, rather than the direct result of one issue. Such problems are harder to solve, harder to bring consensus on. They also tend to recur, for two reasons:

1) The root of many of these problems spring from needs, desires, and shortcomings that are self-similar across history and human experience.

2) The onset of these problems is not always obvious, not always linear. The mistakes that bring them can be seemingly innocent, often rationalizable behavior that nonetheless is wrong for the situation.

It’s important to take advantage of the experience and education of others, as well as availing ourselves of our own limited experience. Today’s society emphasizes individualized experience at the expense of listening to that of others. There are limits to how far a healthy society can take that approach. The Bush Administration’s record over the last few years demonstrates the folly of bubbling oneself away in one’s own worldview. None of us is perfect enough to know all the problems we need to confront, to understand all the issues we need to understand.

Things like markets work because people share their wisdom and understanding. When they don’t work it’s often because people aren’t told about things, or because people ignore sound advice.

We need to relearn a little intellectual humility.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 20, 2007 7:16 AM
Comment #223582

-
Stephen Daugherty

I am disappointed in this post Steven, you

can do better. Wisdom an Understanding Indeed?
-

Posted by: -DAVID- at June 20, 2007 6:27 PM
Comment #223592

Steven Daugherty- I really think you are a kind, person
an sometimes a great many people take kindness
as ignorance [an you are by no means ignorant]!
Analyzing an evaluations are less effective than
making a stand when you defend it.
I just believe The Democrats must get tough an
make the tough choices on Immigration, Iraq an
change or undo NAFTA & GATT Treaties. Then
change the tax codes which would help all tax
payers in a more equal manor. This could be
accomplished by you an your blog-er friends an put
a lot of heat under the politicians feet. As a
collage student, we did not have computers so we
took to the streets. For good or bad, we made
many changes. I know Politicians check the
internet daily an you can change things if you
target the right people.

Posted by: -DAVID- at June 20, 2007 9:07 PM
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