Democrats & Liberals Archives

What is your "Yes?"

I attended a rally in early September where at least a few Tea Partisans showed up. In fact, I stood right next to one for quite a while. And what did they say? “Just say no.” At some point, I started shouting back: “What’s your yes?”

The unfortunate thing is, the Republicans have been undependable in answering that question, or worse, not interested in it.

For the longest time, I content to maintain a gradual, incremental style of negotiation with the Republican majority. After all, we got some concessions. We got some good stuff through.

Something changed after 2001, after Bush got in. Instead of having the Republicans getting into occasional ideological fights, suddenly it became a constant occurence. Everything Democrats suggested was wrong, was the potential end of the world, was crazy, was meant to help the communists, the terrorists, the space aliens, or the legions of hell (just kidding on the space aliens).

It only seems to have gotten worse. I've got a reputation for being patient, but perhaps it's because I simply can't put into words how senseless this all seems to me.

If you ask Richard Dawkins about evolutonary biology and survival of the fittest, he'll probably tell you that it's not necessarily the most aggressive fighters that spread their genes over time. Why? Because all fights come with a cost, no matter how eager you are for that fight. A creature that fights more, gets injured more, gets sick more, and expends energy fighting it could be doing something else more productive for its survival.

To make every confrontation a fight is to exhaust oneself for the fights that really matter, to break one's ability to sustain one's other activities reliably.

Better balances are needed. Not necessarily centerpoints of equilibrium, but better setting of priorities than a simple overbalanced towards aggression. The base of the Republican Party is as much a handicap as a strength. While there is no question that the hardcore of the Republican Party has little truck with other parties, they're also quite jealous about that priority they get. We only have to look at recent elections with moderates, recent news events where Republicans reached out towards the middle, or lashed out against extremist rhetoric and were punished for it to see the problem. That is, the Republicans can't grow beyond Republican political strongholds that easily.

Not unless they really scare the hell out of Americans. So the talk gets escalated to a fever pitch. A risky move in and of itself, because you can alienate or scare people off fairly easily. One would think they learned their lesson with Clinton and the government shutdown, but maybe they thought they could do better against a man who had certain questions about him.

Desperation, though, in my opinion, is poor long-term sustenance for a political movement. Sooner or later, people want calm and peace, and their opponent does that much better than they do currently.

The Republicans, in short, need to work on their people skills.

What is their yes? For the past three years, we've rarely seen the answer to this question. Their no is obvious: anything and everything the Democrats plan to do with their majority. The problem is, if the Republicans aren't doing much with that government, the people would like them to do something. The Republicans, as a party, only see one fifth of the country self identifying with them, despite substantial self-identified conservatives in the population. With all that we've seen out of them, I can't imagine how the Republicans get much further right without losing the middle for good, so obviously, there are many Conservatives who are disaffected with the Republican party for how far right the party has gone. When the requirement of being part of the party in good standing is that you say all of the above when they give you a list of hardline positions to push, the strain can be significant.

And it must have broken in 2006, and 2008. Bush is to blame for that. I know, I say he's to blame for a lot. But I think there's a good case to be made for this point, too. Simply put, Bush took the rhetoric and the policy and made them pretty rigid, even in the face of the failure of those policies. Good loyal, troop supporting, free-market Republicans, to hold the line against the Democrats, had to essentially support him without much question. And support him. And support him. And support him. Pointless fight after pointless fight over policy that wasn't working, that didn't work. How do you keep that up, and keep up any kind of enthusiasm, gain any kind of converts?

The answer is, you don't. It doesn't work. People are not machines. Sooner or later, people want a payoff. Sooner or later, if you've promised people things, you've got to deliver.

The current strategy of the Republicans is to starve Obama and Democratic Party voters of the achievements that they promised to deliver. To force Obama to break as many promises as possible. To cut the celebrity down to size. To puncture the legend. They may succeed, but I think they are doing it in a way that makes it very difficult for them to truly capitalize on that. In fact, it may backfire, if things go on for long enough.

Here are some of the problems.

First, Democrats are getting royally ticked off. They are losing more and more patience with moderates, which either puts pressure on them to go further left, or puts those people in danger of being replaced with somebody who has, we can say, more party spirit. Think Alan Grayson.

Second, Voters aren't necessarily falling in love with the Republicans for their interference, and it could very easily end up backfiring if the Republicans find the wrong thing to say no to, and the Democrats hit them hard on it. The first problem can compound this one, as Democrats become less concerned with reaching out.

Third, Republicans have less and less they can point to that they can claim as real achievements. Simply blocking the Democrats is not enough of an achievement beyond those they can convince that is an important thing to do.

Look at 2008. The Republicans made the disastrous vote in the house against the bailouts, causing Wall Street to go into a tailspin. Then they made what could have been an equally disastrous vote for it, one the probably hardly charmed their base. But if they had made the other vote first, or demonstrated more discipline in how they dealt with Wall Street, they might have come out better.

The Republicans are not leaving themselves enough options open to maintain an image of legislative usefulness. They are so strictly defining what they can do, that they completely lack the power to manuever in emergencies, and at pressure points. They are trapped, regardless of whether their positions are positive for them, or not. They are building for themselves an image of a party that is too interested in its own philosophy to deal with reality.

The quesiton is, what is their yes? What is their negotiated position with the Democrats.? They might as well face it, we are the majority. That's not arrogant to say, that's just the matter of fact. The way the Republicans are going with their internal battles and their attempts, even now, to purify their party, they aren't going to make the majority any time soon. Can y'all imagine keeping this filibuster junk up for the next ten or twenty years? People are going to be screaming for their heads, long before then.

What is their yes? Not, when can they expect another controversial event to sensationalize. What is their yes? Where can they find a point of equilibrium with the Democrats?

How do we get this nation moving forward again, together again as Americans?

Neverending obstruction will not lead Republicans to recovery. Only a recognition of and a wilingness to embrace the middle will return the Republican Party to the mainstream.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at November 24, 2009 10:04 PM
Comments
Comment #291542

Stephen

We come again to the fundamental truth that Democrats have large majorities. Ask fellow Democrats what their “yes” is.

You say that Democrats are GETTING ticked off. They have been in hysterical anger mode for many years. Reread some of the Watchblog entries if you want some vitriol.

Polls have shown big drops in President Obama’s popularity and independents are beginning to favor Republicans. It is a remarkable turn around from last year. Maybe it is not only Democrats who are getting ticked off and losing patience.

BTW - I love your statement, “Democrats are getting royally ticked off. They are losing more and more patience with moderates,” Then you tell Republicans that THEY need to work on their people skills. Tell me you don’t see the irony.

Posted by: Christine at November 24, 2009 11:33 PM
Comment #291546

Christine-
I don’t need to ask them. Their yes is what your party is blocking. Hell, why they’re blocking. They know that if they didn’t continue the blockade, Democrats would legislate, and get credit for it. There’s no other reason. If Republicans merely wanted to make statements, they could vote NO. That would be clear enough.

I’m not going to get into an argument about what you define as hysterical anger. I don’t think it’s necessarily hysterical to protest a war policy that wasn’t working, an economic policy that’s produced the worst economic collapse since Hoover was in office, or to complain when triple amputees who served their country with distinction get compared to the worst tyrants and terrorists in favor of a guy who sat out the war with a knee injury.

But we’ve long been willing to do negotiation, because our culture has been favorable to it. But the problem is, ultimately, folks can’t justify that forever in the face of a sheer wall of no.

If people are losing patience, its with the absence of results that were promised. But the main reason for that isn’t that Obama doesn’t have the numbers to pass bills. Just not the numbers to keep Republicans from talking the bills to death.

As for people skills, ask the Tea Partisans about that. Ask them about the decorum of shouting other people down. Ask them about accusations of things like Death Panels and communist takeovers.

You need to step back from your party and get some perspective of just how far from the mainstream it’s behavior has drifted. There is a reason eighty percent of the country does not identify with your party.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 24, 2009 11:57 PM
Comment #291555

Let me elaborate, and try to be friendlier this time, Christine.

This is not the thing I like to do most anymore. Not the thing that really compels me. First of the year, I thought I could relax. I thought the Republicans would get the message and let themselves soak back towards the mainstream.

But it seems like they’re doing the opposite. But worse, they’re not going to let others alone to pursue this course by themselves. They’re just going to keep fighting us, and I don’t like the alternatives, the hardened party mine might become, or the underserving, incompetent victors yours might become instead.

I want things to settle down. I want to be able to stop worrying about politics for the most part, and even then, be able to argue with somebody on it and still remain friends afterwards.

But in the meantime, I have an adversary, and this adversary won’t let up on me. They won’t compromise, or be persuaded by evidence. They will simply oppose what I say and what I want because they are what I say, and what I want.

As long as that seems to be the line of reasoning, I’m not sure of what I can do to both compromise with the Republicans, and remain true to what my own reason and opinion tell me.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 25, 2009 1:22 AM
Comment #291556

SD and C+J

I think one thing both of you need to recognize is the phenomenon of senators such as Blanche Lincoln. I really don’t think there has been anything close an analogue of people like her in the GOP right now. Perhaps there was Lincoln Chafee, but he lost his bid for reelection in 2006. (quite a coincidence that both of these senators have Lincoln in their name). In fact it is the persist but small conservative/centrist faction in the Democratic Party that allowed the GOP to have virtually free reign in both houses of Congress from 1994 to 2006 (I know Democrats controlled the senate in 2001-2002 after Senator Jeffords left the GOP). Perhaps more liberals will be elected in 2010 to replace conservative or centrist Democrats, or maybe not. I hope the former happens, but its beginning to look like the latter will happen, which is not out of line with historical trends that state that in-power parties tend to lose seats in the first midterm election. I don’t think the GOP will gain control of either chamber though.

Posted by: Warped Reality at November 25, 2009 1:38 AM
Comment #291560

Unfortunately, as David alluded to, some of the angriest of the Republican party seem to fall into the stereotype of the angry old man yelling, “and keep off my lawn”.

The “conservative” movement of late seems to be gravitating toward that behavior. I’m not really sure there is a cure for this. It’s more a demographic issue. While there may be a shift towards an aging population in the US, they will eventually die off. As the baby boom generation passes, the demographic will completely marginalize these folks.

Posted by: gergle at November 25, 2009 8:13 AM
Comment #291581

“Democrats are getting royally ticked off. ”
Royally? Really? Royally? You have some nice paragraphs, but the sentences are hard to diagram.

As a spokersperson for the Dmcrts, I would think that you would be pleased that the Rpblcns are making themselves more and more irrelevant. Does it really seem like a royally good idea to continually harp on the point that the Dmcrtc majorities aren’t big enough? It sounds like a campaign slogan headed for failure. Can’t do anything until there’s a bigger majority? The economy is still headed downhill. After the holidays, there are supposed to be many more companies closing up, that aren’t Wal-Mart. I don’t think “our majority isn’t big enough” is going to be much of a campaign slogan for 2010.

“Tell me you don’t see the irony.” He doesn’t, I guarantee.

Posted by: ohrealy at November 25, 2009 11:54 AM
Comment #291583

ohrealy-
Royally. As in, the adverbial form of Royal. To do a thing in a royal way.

It’s not the size of the majority that’s the problem, it’s the quality. We have too many holdovers from a time when it was good to have some guys who could make deals with the right.

My slogan would be this: They made sure The Democratic majority did nothing with 51. They’re doing their best to make sure we do nothing with 60. They did nothing good for the American people when they had their fifty, their fifty five, or anybody else.

The time is here to give back to the Republicans that they’ve given to us over the past several years: less than nothing. You’ve had a taste of what a divided government is under the Republicans. Do you need any more?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 25, 2009 12:20 PM
Comment #291585

ohrealy,

It has nothing to do with Republicans becoming more irrelavant, it has to do with them making America irrelevant. If it was suicide the GOP had in mind, why did it turn into murder?

Posted by: Marysdude at November 25, 2009 1:14 PM
Comment #291592

Stephen,

This links to a remarkable explanation of how the filibuster has changed and the damage it can now do that it could not do before.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2009/11/how_a_letter_from_1964_shows_w.html

Posted by: Marysdude at November 25, 2009 5:35 PM
Comment #291595

papioscarw-
The majority vote was always fifty plus one in the senate. You are conflating it with the supermajority required to invoke cloture on a debate- to break the filibuster, so to speak.

I’m not surprised. I knew it would come to this. Sooner or later, Democrats are going to want to actually use the Congress they have the majorities in.

The Republicans decided they would take what Marysdude’s author characterizes as the political equivalent of a temper tantrum, and make it into a supermajority requirement.

Well, you see, that requirement is a product of Senate rules, nothing else, and it can be legislated or voted out of existence. Sooner or later, Democrats will take what’s rightfully theirs, and the Republicans will suffer, deservedly or undeservedly, for abusing this little one trick pony of theirs.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 25, 2009 5:44 PM
Comment #291598

Stephen,

I doubt it. Because they know that when they are the ones out of power the one tool they had will be gone. Don’t you remember the cry and hue from Democrats a few years ago when the Republicans threatened to alter the filibuster rules? Are memories really that short?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2009 6:51 PM
Comment #291600
Reid’s no fool. He knows that his constituency is getting rather angry with the lack of guts on his majority’s part. He knows that the time to simply blame the other side is over. If he wants to take advantage of the overwhelming support of change in the government, he’s got to actually make some of it go through, and letting just a simple declaration of the intent to filibuster suffice to knock down legislation is not going to win him any points. My late Aunt Mimi had a saying when we were playing checkers and I had a jump I could take: Shoot Luke, or give up the gun.

If the Republicans want to promote gridlock, fine. But it won’t be like it was before. They won’t get to do this in committee. Let them go out, in front of the American public, and publically oppose what the majority of them want. Let them make it real clear that they think the average person is wrong.

When Stephen? You said that Reid was going to make Republicans actually filibuster back in January 2007. Now you say that Democrats are going to ‘get fed up with it’. Really? Because HISTORY tells us something different.

I have been calling for the Democrats to get off of their butts and actually make the Republicans filibuster, not threaten, for years now. And it still hasn’t happened. The reason is simple, they want that power when the roles are reversed.

You are directing your articles at the wrong party, Stephen. If a child is spoiled, isn’t it the parents who have the power and let them keep getting away with it to blame, not the children?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2009 6:56 PM
Comment #291601

Oh, forgot the link for your comment: http://www.watchblog.com/democrats/archives/005302.html#226662

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2009 6:57 PM
Comment #291603

Crap, it was July 2007, not January, that’s what I get for not doublechecking that before I hit submit.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2009 6:59 PM
Comment #291604

Oh, and this one is good from 2005:

http://www.watchblog.com/democrats/archives/001962.html#40768

Chris- The very point of a Democracy is to make it difficult for any group, majority or minority, to maintain power indefinitely. A filibuster is one way of penalizing a majority that legislates policies in conflict with the will of a substantial minority.

You may desire greatly for us simply to submit, but that isn’t a very dignified way of practicing politics. It is exactly what was frustrating liberals and Democrats before Howard Dean came along. We had nobody standing on that stage saying “You’re wrong!” to the Republicans.

Like it or not, you will have to deal with a Democratic party that is no longer willing to cooperate in its own obsolescense.

I mean, jeez, what did you expect? You think you can beat up on people for that long and not turn them against you? Y’all should have kept better perspective on who the real enemies were, who the real threats were, and stop treating dissent in this Democratic society as an aberration and a threat.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2009 7:04 PM
Comment #291605

This is fun, from 2004:

http://www.watchblog.com/democrats/archives/000843.html#8218

The constitution did not explicitly outlaw filibustering, and does protect free speech. Both the act of filibustering and the content of such a speech can be regarded as protected. the necessity for a two-thirds majority against the continued filibustering ensures that if the majority is great enough, the filibustering can be put an end, and if it’s not sufficient, you don’t have a bare majority pre-empting the political interest of a bare minority that the people have seen fit to elect

The Republicans have unfortunately wielded their majorities, and their control of the White House like a hammer, trying to smash those who dissent from their agenda, instead of consensus building, and legislative compromise. This is not a country where people can impose themselves on other without an opposing response

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2009 7:07 PM
Comment #291606

This wasn’t by Stephen, but Woody instead. But I found it poignant written in 2005…

http://www.watchblog.com/republicans/archives/002281.html#55286

You folks in the right column need to be very careful about what you wish for. Don’t forget that it was only slightly more than two years ago that the Democrats controlled the Senate. (Remember that despicable Sen. Cleland with his terrorist-loving ways?) It may not be too long before the filibuster seems to you like the safeguard of civilization.
Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2009 7:11 PM
Comment #291607

Stephen:

Stopping a majority in Congress from passing something that the majority of Americans oppose is a constructive thing to do.

If you had the people on your side with this bill we wouldn’t be having this conversation!!

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 25, 2009 7:11 PM
Comment #291610

http://www.watchblog.com/democrats/archives/002159.html Is a great article as well, written by American Pundit. I am going to be quoting from Stephen’s comments in this one here:

The problem with any nuclear option is the fallout. The Republican party is succeeding in making itself radioactive to evenits own party members. They may think they have the mandate and the power to wield their will this way, but the reality is, people want their government contained within safe bounds.

The danger here is that the Republican counterculture is persuading itself that it deserves power regardless of what any law or minority group would do to limit it. It’s persuading itself that this grab for power is necessary to save the country, the society, and even the world, and that any compromise would mean the destruction of all they hold dear.

They’ve got to realize that some of the rules protect them, and that by being as aggressive as they’re being, they may end up alienating enough of a majority to shift power back leftward.

Unfortunately, I think they may not take the hint, and their activities after such a defeat may become more radical.

They must realize America was not meant to be theirs alone.

Gandhi- If the Republican party had the sixty votes required to break the filibusters, they would deserve to win. Otherwise, there isn’t enough public support to overrule the groups that form the minority. This is a safety valve on the power of small majorities, so they can’t simply shape the system to their sole benefit, entrenching their majority.

And what the hell do you think the Republicans are doing? Do you think passing laws they know flirt if not cross the line of constitutionality is a substantive act of policy?

And take what he has written here later in that same article and change the words Democrat to Republican and see if it isn’t something that would fit in well in the right column right about now…

I just got a question for you all: What in the constitution says that a minority political party isn’t entitled to use the traditional methods of legislative procedure to fight for their constituents interest?

Tell me something, are the Democrats supposed to go back to the people who elected them to office, shrug their shoulders and say we just had to let your interests be trampled by an agressive majority because otherwise we’d look like obstructionists?

Please. These people aren’t doing anything Democrats across America don’t want them to do. They’re sick of the Democrats in congress acting like Republicans light and letting the GOP walk all over them.

You may like having all these radical agenda items shoved down our throats, but we sure don’t, and more you push, the more we want to push back. You are the ones to blame for the intensity of the resistance. Your unwillingness to compromise has put Democrats in the position that they must uncompromising and aggressive themselves if they even want to hold on to level of power they have now.

At some point, you’re fighting the will of a large portion of the American people, and you will get absolutely nowhere by telling they are irrational, when they believe they are standing up for their values, and their most cherished beliefs. How badly does your side have to break the system in cutting us out of it, before you recognize our right to work within it?

You cannot fight forever against your own fellow citizens. Make your peace with us, and we will make our peace with us. Otherwise, there will be a fight, and we won’t cooperate in our own disenfranchisement.

Perhaps one of the best explanations as to why the rules shouldn’t be changed was from David Remer:

I believe it is Jefferson’s Parliamentary rules for the Senate that grant the minority party the filibuster option on any legislation proposed on the Senate Floor when the Senate is in session. If I recall this correctly, it is these centuries old rules that are threatened to be changed by the GOP, and not just for judgeships. By changing the filibuster rule, they open many other majority party whims to be acceded to by a simple majority on a floor vote.

In fact, if the filibuster rule is changed, there is nothing to prevent any majority party from changing all of the parliamentary rules to their favor for as long as they remain a majority party. Talk about chaos and losing an entire year or more while a majority party rewrites all of the rules in their favor. Fun stuff this…

Just some history to apply to the current debate and possibly examine the background of those writing, constantly, about the filibuster now that the roles have reversed.

And more importantly, why it won’t change just as it didn’t change back then. Heck, the Republicans weren’t even discussing just writing out the filibuster but just altering it so it didn’t apply to judges. That they are now using it for their own political power is hypocritical of the Republicans. That the Democrats are complaining about its use and are considering changing the rules to suit them is hypocritical as well.

I am curious to see how this plays out, to be sure.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2009 7:28 PM
Comment #291616

Stephen & Rhinehold

Rhinehold spanked the Democrats good with their own words. That Internet permanent record is hard on you all. I enjoy using your words against you too, but Rhinehold is better at it than I am.

Stephen

Actually the time with divide government and Republicans in control of Congress was very good. 1994-2000 was one of the most prosperous times in U.S. and world history.

It really is astonishing that you can call a sixty seat majority in the Senate a clear majority in the House and a Democratic president “divided government”. This is as close to a one-party state as it gets in the U.S.

I am sorry that not all the Democrats do what you want them to do. I thought it was supposed to be a good thing to think for yourself? Has the Democratic big tent gotten too small to fit Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln and maybe even Max Baucus?

I guess you really don’t see the irony in some of what you are writing, but I enjoy it. Please keep it up.

Re Tea Parties

I have attended two. Nobody I saw was yelling or angry. You can find such people at any demonstration if you look for them, but that was not the general tone.

Posted by: Christine at November 25, 2009 8:44 PM
Comment #291620

The Democrats hassled and impeded the Republicans when the Republicans were in power and now the Republicans are doing the same to the Democrats. The issues are different, but one of the things that’s the same is that party in power thinks it’s a good reason to whine and blame everybody but themselves. American politics has become like a never-ending episode of Jerry Springer.

The main reason any party can’t ram their agenda through isn’t even the other party anyway. It’s that they haven’t made a strong enough case to bring enough of the American people aboard. Once you do that, nobody in your own party or the other party dares to oppose you. And until you do that, the problem is either with your agenda or how well you’re selling it. When you find yourself in that position, you don’t need to go out looking for your enemy. You can find him right in the mirror.

Posted by: Phillip at November 25, 2009 10:41 PM
Comment #291622

Stephen:

First, Democrats are getting royally ticked off.

How can we tell the difference?

How is royally ticked off different from business as usual?

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 25, 2009 11:37 PM
Comment #291630

This is the problem with the conservative movement, in a nutshell, so to speak:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKKKgua7wQk&feature=player_embedded#

Beyond talking points, there just isn’t much there.

Posted by: gergle at November 26, 2009 2:27 AM
Comment #291636

It means that some young left wing journalist interviewed some people and screened out the ones they wanted to in order to make conservatives look stupid. It is very easy to do. Interview a few hundred people on camera an then edit it down to the ones that make the point you are trying to make.

So here is the question? Why are you bying into such cheap journalism? Why are you using such obviously cheap tactics?
Why do you want to be a part of making average people look stupid? And if I show you a link of conservatives doing exactly the same thing only about Obama will you accept that with liberism,

Beyond talking points, there isn’t much there!!!

gergle, you used crap to make a point.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 26, 2009 11:09 AM
Comment #291638

Craig,

Remember, Howard Stern did that before the election when he went down to Harlem and asked Obama supporters if they supported what Obama stood for, and then used McCain’s stances. The ones that they aired had all agreed. Of course, gergle most likely took offense to that then. But, like the good hypocrite that he is, he has no problem using the same tactic now.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 26, 2009 11:26 AM
Comment #291639

Rhinehold-
I support the continuation of the filibuster power.

Let me emphasize that: I support it.

But let me qualify that support:
I do not support its pervasive use to block a legislative agenda wholesale. I do not support it when folks are unwilling to suggest alternatives, when there is no “yes” that will end this limited obstruction.

That qualification in mind, you cannot find a contradiction between what I said then, and what I say now. I was arguing for the right of the Democrats to filibuster five of the most hard-right judicial appointees that Bush brought up. I was arguing for the right of the Democrats to gain some concessions on those matters.

I was not arguing that they could filibuster every judicial appointee. The Republicans have impeded around two hundred.

I was not arguing they could use the tactic pervasively. The Republicans, in the first Congress of our majority used the filibuster more than we did in the previous two congresses combined, as the minority. This, in the midst of the most contentious political battles of this generation.

Only those who failed to examine both context and claim could accuse me of hypocrisy. You are supporting the Republican’s right to pervasively deny the Democrats the ability to legislate their agenda. I was supporting our right to selectively get in the the way of what we considered the Republican’s majority’s worse excesses.

I mean, hell, do you think I believed that there was anything less at stake? Yet I respected the majority’s power, even as I fought for the minority’s rights.

I am not asking Republicans never to filibuster again, to allow every measure, every vote go through unhindered. But they have got to stop second guessing the will of the American people that put the Democrats in the majority. They have got to stop demanding that we do everything their way or else, because that is nothing less than a subversion of Democracy. The filibuster was meant to be reserved for an occasional parliamentary manuever. It was never meant to be the policy of the minority.

If the American people do not like our decisions, they will act accordingly. I have the faith in our Democracy that when we piss people off, they will respond in kind.

But I want that to be something that happens because of something we DID to deserve it. If we’re truly that extreme, then the people will react accordingly.

Christine-
The divided government of 1994 to 2000 was something the voters decided upon. This current divided government, with the Senate deadlocked by a unanimously obstructive minority party, aided by a few members of the majority, is a travesty of what the voters actually put in place: a government with Democrat in the White House, and substantial majorities in both chambers.

As for irony?

I am sorry that not all the Democrats do what you want them to do. I thought it was supposed to be a good thing to think for yourself? Has the Democratic big tent gotten too small to fit Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln and maybe even Max Baucus?

The irony is, I’m only sorry about these people doing what they want to do, because of a neverending filibuster that requires the permission of every Democrat to get bills out of debate. If these people were not being forced to make the decision on the filibuster, they could vote more along the lines of their conscience, and only occasionally annoy, rather than madden Democrats like me.

The irony is, your people never tolerated such dissent.

The irony is, your party is currently actively trying to purge itself of the last vestiges of its moderates. You already purged poor Arlen Specter, and Dede Scozzafava. Now you’re trying to get rid of Charlie Crist, and others like him, others who don’t march in lockstep with the rest of the party.

Do you have any answer to those contradictions? The problem with arguing according to convenience is that there’s never a solid paradigm when you need one, to keep you consistent.

Phillip-
No, the Republicans are doing something more in both quantity and quality.

The real problem is some people stick to philosophy regardless of whether it pasts the test of practical use.

We’ve done our best to make healthcare reform budget neutral. Republicans never even tried that on their medicare reform. Yet we’re portrayed as the spendthrifts

Look at yourself in the mirror. Ask yourself what you’re really seeing out there. We had a mother of an economic meltdown. Yet some oppose emergency measures, some still favor deregulating the already too liberated forces of Wall Street. We’ve had strategic defeats in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet some want to continue the tactics and strategies of those who got us in there, even fight new wars.

There are folks in politics right now who are not learning their lessons, not taking the proper education from their mistakes.

Look yourself in the mirror and ask whether you can, in good conscience, support such policy making.

Craig Holmes-
A year ago, I welcomed the prospects of working with moderates like you. Now, I don’t know whether your party has moderates left to work with. Your party is wearing down the patience of thos who might have once willingly made peace with you to heal the divides of this country.

The Republican Party, by choosing this route, is making it tougher and tougher for people to work with it in the future. It may give you folks short term morale and energy, but it’s at the expense of a course of action that will squander that energy on war you ultimately can’t win.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 26, 2009 11:54 AM
Comment #291642
your party is currently actively trying to purge itself of the last vestiges of its moderates. You already purged poor Arlen Specter, and Dede Scozzafava.

And of course, the Democrats don’t do anything like that at all. Lieberman was never a Democrat, was he Stephen?

That qualification in mind, you cannot find a contradiction between what I said then, and what I say now. I was arguing for the right of the Democrats to filibuster five of the most hard-right judicial appointees that Bush brought up. I was arguing for the right of the Democrats to gain some concessions on those matters.

Really? Because your words tell a different story. YOU said:

If the Republican party had the sixty votes required to break the filibusters, they would deserve to win. Otherwise, there isn’t enough public support to overrule the groups that form the minority. This is a safety valve on the power of small majorities, so they can’t simply shape the system to their sole benefit, entrenching their majority.

And what the hell do you think the Republicans are doing? Do you think passing laws they know flirt if not cross the line of constitutionality is a substantive act of policy?

Interesting, you mention laws, yet you now say it was just about a couple of judges.

What you stated was a philosophy behind the purpose of the filibuster. Exactly how does the bold words not come into play today?

Make your peace with us, and we will make our peace with us. Otherwise, there will be a fight, and we won’t cooperate in our own disenfranchisement.

When, exactly, did the Democrats ‘make peace’ with the Republicans? Why is it not ok for THEM to not cooperate in their own disenfranchisement?

You may desire greatly for us simply to submit, but that isn’t a very dignified way of practicing politics. It is exactly what was frustrating liberals and Democrats before Howard Dean came along. We had nobody standing on that stage saying “You’re wrong!” to the Republicans.

Like it or not, you will have to deal with a Democratic party that is no longer willing to cooperate in its own obsolescense.

Haven’t you been doing exactly that in your articles and comments since November of last year. Heck, even before that. So the Republicans are no longer willing to cooperate in its own obsolescence. You can rail against it all you want, but it is just the other side of the same coin, Stephen. Are they using it more than the Democrats? Yup. Of course, they are completely out of the loop so some Democrats have to help them, so it isn’t entirely them either, but those Democrats get a pass apparently because, well, they’re Democrats, aren’t they?

Now, if the Democrats had an actual spine and done what you SAID they were going to do 2 years ago, they wouldn’t be doing it so much. But you have made it so easy for them, why should not NOT do it? The reason it hasn’t happened until now is it wasn’t until recently that the ‘gentlemens agreement’ that the right and left both agreed upon concerning filibustering is less than two decades old and requires just a ‘threat’ of filibustering. MAKE THEM DO IT. Until then, quit complaining that they are doing what you allow them to do because you want that same power when it is your turn again.

Only those who failed to examine both context and claim could accuse me of hypocrisy.

The context and claim, Stephen, is that then it was Democrats doing it, now it is Republicans. I’ve put in the links to your comments, the links to the articles. The context is there for all to read, I have taken nothing out of context as you would like for people to think.

The fact is that you were arguing the philosophical need for filibustering. You made no qualification and mention laws at least once. It was clearly not JUST about judges, you wanted to make sure that the rules still existed for you to use. Just because you don’t like the way the Republicans are using it doesn’t mean the rules need to be changed AS YOU SUGGESTED. Now you say you are all for it. Great. Singing a different tune now, maybe a revisit to the past did some good.

Now, man up and start writing articles about how your Democrats are letting the Republicans run rough shot over you because you don’t want to make them actually filibuster something! You promised this over 2 years ago and NOTHING.

Getting fed up? Please…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 26, 2009 1:03 PM
Comment #291644

So, let’s get on with some more since Stephen apparently thought the previous ones were ‘out of context’:

http://www.watchblog.com/democrats/archives/002043.html#42886

Don’t denigrate filibustering, for if political fortunes turn, it will be one of your few tools for representing your constituency. You neglect an important fact: Democrats elect their representatives to stand up for their beliefs. We don’t elect them to be wallflowers. It’s unrealistic to expect unmitigated cooperation.
Posted by: Rhinehold at November 26, 2009 1:12 PM
Comment #291652

Stephen:

You are kind of being exposed as being a bit transparent here. Two different rules, one for you and one for Republicans.

Stephen your rules obviously change depending on the situation.

We need a change in politics away from situation rules like what you are doing. We need to reject this form of politics!!

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 26, 2009 4:06 PM
Comment #291655

Craig Holmes-
So, because I supported ANY use of the filibuster at all, you’re saying that I support ALL uses of it, even the most excessive and extreme?

It’s not hypocrisy to oppose both extremes of the use of the filibuster, both the abolition, and the abuse of it. If you cannot see that there is a position between those points, then I cannot help you understand why I am no hypocrite on this matter.

I am a moderate on this issue who rejects both extremes. Unfortunately, the Republicans, your party, seems to favor whichever extreme benefits them the most. So if you have problems with people’s inconsistency, have a problem with your own.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 26, 2009 5:34 PM
Comment #291658

Craig,

LOL, You caught me, now if you guys would just quit doing it. C’mon, it was funny! But I will say this, you are assuming it was edited for effect. How do you KNOW that? Frankly, it seems pretty representative of Palin supporters I’ve talked to.

Posted by: gergle at November 26, 2009 10:27 PM
Comment #291663

gergle:

You are the one who made the assumption that it was true without checking into if it was edited or not. It’s because it feeds your bias of Palin supporters.

The left is supporting a narrative that Palin supporters are white trash hics. You seem to be falling into that camp.

It’s a typical liberal elite script. We really need new politics in our country and get rid of that crap.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 26, 2009 11:38 PM
Comment #291664

Stephen:

I have never seen you admit you were wrong on any matter!!

You have a misbelief that somehow democrats are more noble in cause than republicans, and that your sides motives are always a bit more pure than the the right.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 26, 2009 11:42 PM
Comment #291673

SD
A factor you underestimate is that the current elected Reps got there largly by selling out to big money. Sure,Dems take money also, but never to the extent the Reps have . Inturn they even let corporate lobbiest actually write legislation. In turn they prevented the legislative obligation of oversite. Inturn they transformed the NLRB into a cabal of union busting shills. In turn they refused to give anything but token support for alternate energy,etc. etc. Now they are suddenly in a position where they risk not being able to accomadate their corporate masters. They have to put up a good fight or lose their former political advantage, not to mention the directorships when they retire and the free travel and hookers etc. If they do otherwise they will simply no longer have anything to sell.
They Reps move to purity may have the result of putting in more politicians that might actually have beliefs. Although I cannot concur with most of their beliefs there is something honorable in it. More power to them.

Christine

Independant voters blow with the wind. To quote Lisa Simpson,”Undecided voters are the stupidest people in the world!”.

Posted by: bills at November 27, 2009 7:50 AM
Comment #291675

Craig,

I don’t think those people were all white trash hicks, just ill informed. That is a requirement to be a supporter of Palin, in my opinion.

I know it was edited. It says so on the you tube page. I just have no idea if a bias was applied, nor do you.

Rhinehold,

No offense taken. It’s very true many supporters of Obama supported him simply because he was black, and were completely ignorant of the issues. Does that surprise you? Why is it informed Palin supporters continue to deny the stupid things she says?

Posted by: gergle at November 27, 2009 10:28 AM
Comment #291676

BTW, If you read the info section of the vid, the author admits the same thing, but denies biased editing, although confesses to a small sampling.

Posted by: gergle at November 27, 2009 10:32 AM
Comment #291677

Craig Holmes-
My position is clear, and has been clear: I support the existence of the filibuster, not it’s pervasive use by the minority as a blockade against the majority getting it’s way.

Your party was trying to eradicate this tactic that you folks love so much now. I’d say between the two of us, my moderate support for occasional filibusters by the Democrats is the more consistent position, and the more defensible.

The differences in how my party has used the filibuster, versus your party’s use of the filibuster must be factored in, if you’re going to determine the consistency of what I’m saying. By that measure, you and your party are the ones offering a hypocritical argument to Americans: the obstruction of the minority is an abomination to democracy when the Democrats use it moderately, and the salvation of civilization when the Republicans make it party policy to obstruct on everything.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 27, 2009 10:35 AM
Comment #291681

Stephen:

So you support the use of a fillibuster as long as you approve of how it’s used. When this boils down it means it’s ok and important that Democrats use the fillibuster, but it is never appropriate for Republicans to fillibuster unless Democrats happen to be doing something that you disapprove of.

Currently the fillibuster can easily be supported. The minority is on the side of the American people with a majority of voters not wanting the current form of health care reform to pass.

Americans want the cost of health care to come down. Neither bill brings down costs to any degree, but both increase spending. To fillibuster, so real health care reform can happen is a proper use of the rule.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 27, 2009 12:09 PM
Comment #291687

rhinehold

boy that wayback machine can really be a biotch can’t it. LOL!!

Posted by: dbs at November 29, 2009 2:03 PM
Comment #291688

Stephen,

I think the CBO said there would be a moderate decline in the deficit, and the Economics Board said the decline would be significant. I expect the benefits to be somewhere in between, but no one except Republicans are talking about an increase in either the deficit or the debt due of health care reform. Some folks on here are blowing smoke…I think it’s the ones you refer to as ‘you folks’.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 29, 2009 2:14 PM
Comment #291692

Craig Holmes-
Could you knock it off with your quest for hypocrisy? I supported the filibuster knowing it could be used against Democrats. Even now, I support its continuation, knowing both that it has been abused, but also that it can be an aid to a minority.

But I never supported it as a substitute for the authority of the majority.

You speak highly and mightily of your service to the majority of Americans, but you’re rather selective about which majorities you pay attention to. Did you pay attention to the majority of Americans who voted for Democrats in 2006? Or 2008? Was their wish for the Democrats to simply sit around and do nothing? Change nothing? Had you not advised the rest of America clearly about what to expect from us?

This strategy of blockading the Senate has only one purpose: to keep Americans from getting what they want.

Now you say the majority of Americans oppose the Democrat’s healthcare reform. But as I’ve pointed out, folks are divided on that count. Hell, if we only talk about the Public Option, people are generally in favor of it! Yet, your party has it high on its list of unnegotiable items.

I wonder how that works.

But nonetheless, your party persisted for years in unpopular policy, and yet we didn’t obstruct things so much. There are two reasons for this. First, Democrats believe that government can and should be functional. They don’t have the inclination to undermine it that the Republicans have cultivated.

But the second point is altogether crucial: we didn’t think we could politically support a constant campaign of getting in the way of the other side’s duly elected majority.

So, we won a majority instead, and won it fair and square, and your party hasn’t let us use our majority unhindered since then.

What’s the trouble? Does your party think that the rest of us are just fools who cannot be allowed to govern ourselves? That we just won the majority out of some public derangement?

This is what makes your argument hollow in its sentiments. Is the majority just what the Republicans decide it is, when it’s convenient to them?

Marysdude is correct. The estimates are all that it will save money. Whether it needs revisions later is an open question. But that it was one of many things that Democrats promised, is not in dispute.

Ultimately, Craig, your party has done its best to use the filibuster to prevent the Democrats from doing what the people want them to do, so they will seem like a do-nothing party. The given excuse is that they’re saving the country from all the general ills of liberalism, but the claims of what would happen are outlandish.

We didn’t just set up a blockade ourselves and keep everything the Bush administration wanted from happening. Those are not the tactics we should engage in, even if it lends us our share of weaknesses and trouble. There are some ways to win that lead our country to greater loss.

Republicans are harming the ability of our Democracy to function. The majority that must be paid attention to is the one that votes on election day. This government does not operate by polls, but by the accountability and authority of the electorate.

The Republicans want unofficial authority they were not given officially in the elections.

The blockade is a travesty against our Democracy. If the Republicans want the majority back, they can earn it back. Otherwise they can let America have a functional government.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 29, 2009 4:09 PM
Comment #291696

Stephen

It is not so much hypocrisy. I think that you were right back then. We are only asking that you open your eyes now.

Posted by: Christine at November 29, 2009 5:49 PM
Comment #291700
Stephen Daugherty wrote: So, we won a majority instead, and won it fair and square, and your party hasn’t let us use our majority unhindered since then.
WHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa….

So what’s new?

Posted by: herbert at November 29, 2009 7:13 PM
Comment #291717

Couldn’t help myself

http://www.watchblog.com/democrats/archives/002286.html

Filibuster A senators job is to vote? It’s to think. To act in the best interests of those they represent. It’s not their job to act as the executive branches rubber-stamp, especially not this one. The Republicans are taking a small majority and using it to push every issue they can on the rest of us. If the poor dears don’t get every confirmation they want, that’s just too bad. They should consider that maybe our founding fathers wanted folks to get in each others way, to curb the kind of political excesses that come of having people constantly getting their way.

The ironic thing is, the Democrats have a filibuster proof majority in the Senate, provided they all agree. Meaning that they get consensus from their own party. Apparently some Republicans are supposed to support a bill that even their own Democrats do not agree with.

But it was ok for Democrats to use their minority to block the small majority from pushing every issue they can on the rest of us…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 30, 2009 12:17 AM
Comment #291718
That’s why those things are allowed in the first place, and why it takes a supermajority of 60 percent to vote down a filibuster. If you’re not the party in power, you use procedural means to get what your constituents expect of you.

Should the Republican’s constituents be let down by them not using the tools at their disposal? The majority of people do not want these bills passed… Especially their specific constituents…

http://www.watchblog.com/republicans/archives/001254.html#17093

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 30, 2009 12:22 AM
Comment #291720

I think the current Republican tactics are pathetic and cowardly. When I was advocating on behalf of my party, when it was a minority, my solution was not never-ending obstruction. It was taking back the Senate and House by winning elections.

I had fierce dislike for the Bush policies, no less fierce than what many Republicans have for Obama’s policies. My pride told me, though, that while occasional obstruction would be useful, the constant use of the filibuster would be a hollow way to win.

I mean, just think about it. What else is it but a funky byproduct of a loophole? It’s only use on that scale of an approach is to convince people that the Congress is doing nothing. I had no need to convince Americans that Congress was worse than useless. They did that fine themselves. Also, though, I thought that strategy would open us up to criticism that we didn’t care about the issues at hand, or didn’t have alternative plans to match the ones we shot down.

I never wanted my party to be purely the party of No.

So, to equate my support for moderate filibustering with what the GOP’s doing right now is a travesty of my true position, and a debate position you can only offer in ignorance or disregard for my other stated principles.

I never anticipated then that the Republicans would turn around and more than double the number of filibuster threats made in that Congress. That they’d escalate thing, lose an election, and decided to escalate things even further.

The Republicans are free to be flexible with their own principles to justify this, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let them be flexible with mine without getting a piece of my mind.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 30, 2009 1:42 AM
Comment #291721

Tom-
I like to write thorough opinions that satisfy my desire to express complete thoughts. That means that there’s enough out there for people with selective memories and aptitudes for selective quotation to say just about anything about my opinions.

Rhinehold and others think my hand’s in the cookie jar. Instead, theirs is stuck in there. My opinion is the axis theirs turned around on.

I advocated a moderate filibuster policy, at a time when the Republicans were advocating its complete abolition. Now, I advocate a moderate filibuster policy at a time when the Republicans are advocating its never-ending use.

The Republicans turned their opinion on a dime, didn’t they, when it got inconvenient to be in the minority. I, on the other hand, often told Republicans that it would be useful to keep the filibuster around, and I did so not being disingenous about the fact. I was right. But they’ve taken the tactic far over the line from the defense of minority rights to the outright contempt of majority privileges. The single linking factor, it seems to be, is what benefits the Republicans and those on the right to say.

That also seems to be the imperative behind many of these arguments.

I stand by my argument. I know what I said, and I haven’t contradicted it yet.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 30, 2009 1:59 AM
Comment #291725

Stephen,

Just like for every good Republican, cherry picking is an art form.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 30, 2009 9:38 AM
Comment #291730

Marysdude:

Demorats NEVER cherry pick.

I hope someday we get passed these “YOU PEOPLE” type of statements.

This is an ugly time in politics. We might have to wait for this generation to pass before we see real reform and progress.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 30, 2009 12:52 PM
Comment #291735

Stephen,

As soon as Republicans realize that we are human, not beast, and have reasoning ability, and were voted in by a majority, and that obstructionism is against the interests of the American people and political principle, we can get past these ‘you folks’ statements…it may be a looooong wait.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 30, 2009 3:02 PM
Comment #291737

Stephen,

Do you think that SAYING one is moderate, is the same as one BEING moderate? Would not moderation mean a softening of obstructionist behavior and a weakening of condescending words? Would not moderation mean distancing oneself from the Beck’s and that ilk?

Posted by: Marysdude at November 30, 2009 3:06 PM
Comment #291738

Marysdude:

I was with you up to the obstructionism point.

You are not a beast, you are human, and you have reasoning ability equal to Republicans.

However when a party voted in by the majority of voters, then goes against the will will of the people, obstructionism is exactly the correct course!!

If you had a majority of Americans behind you, there would not be this discussion as it would be passed an into law.

The real issue is not Republican obstructionism. The real issue is you do not have the support of the American people behind you.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 30, 2009 3:10 PM
Comment #291746

craig - you have stated what repubs want in one sentence: we may have to wait generations for reform. that is what repubs want. for the poor to wait for reform. status quo works for the rich, and elite.

i say shove our (dems) priorities down the repubs throat. now, and do not delay another day.

and, go ahead and find any of my past comments. esp the ones where i was calling out repubs and sometime independents. i would love to see it. brings a warm fuzzy feeling.

stephen - i enjoy your comments - dltbgyd - that is don’t let the bastards get you down. oh, see, another warm fuzzy feeling.

Posted by: bluebuss at November 30, 2009 4:56 PM
Comment #291747

Craig Holmes-
1) The Republicans started this long ago, when we were inaugurated into the majority in 2007.

2) They subsequently re-elected us, and increased our numbers to boot, giving us a much larger Congress and the White House in 2009.

3) In between that time, the Republicans threatened a filibuster a record 112 times, almost double the previous record.

Conclusion: Points one and two preclude the notion that a majority of Americans opposed the Democrats at the time that the Republicans inaugurated their strategy.

That conclusion, by extension, also rules out your argument that today’s obstruction is a result of recent developments, although that could be ruled out by the fact that the Republicans were saying no from the beginning from the start, there, too.

It isn’t like the Republicans gave us a chance and were disillusioned. They never gave us a chance, and only feign disillusionment to explain to people like you why they’re doing such an unreasonable thing as almost completely obstructing an elected majority.

If your party was acting moderate as opposed to claiming it was moderate, it would do what the Democrats were doing: negotiating and reaching compromises, for the most part.

Instead, your party has never even let the majority legislate, not even in close situations like last Congress where it was possible for them to triumph in some if not most votes.

The Republican Party’s politics is poison to its objectivity. Your folks don’t even recall their own past behavior as a metric of their current actions. You never gave us a chance, yet you’re playing like you’re the victims, doing the will of the majority.

Quit pretending. We were elected the last time. We had the majority support this time, and you started obstructing us long before our poll numbers got dragged down by the inactivity you forced. Until you appreciate the breathless cynicism of your party’s actions, then you fail to understand the true source of the hardening of the Democratic Party against cooperation with the Republicans.

Nobody wants to be a doormat, and the mantle of representative of the majority is not something you can simply claim for your own in this Democracy. If you want to claim that for yourself, earn election to the majority.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 30, 2009 4:57 PM
Comment #291748

republicans = do nothing - maintain status quo.

i notice the repubs are pulling in the reigns of some repub crazies. coincidence? was that the repub party’s decision, or big business. did the insurance companies say please stop helping the status quo cause? we will just air commercials on nascar races, and the 700 club. problem being, you are reaching the same group of ppl.

i say doormat the repubs, and then rub their noses in it. then, when healtcare reform is passed, set it up like motor/voter. if you receive assistance, guess what, you are now registered to vote. then, pull a reagan. legalize immigrants. sure, it was a cheap ploy, but it worked for 2 more elections didn’t it. when we pull off these feats, we can finally refer to the repubs officially in past tense. like “remember that fascist tea drinking group”.

Posted by: bluebuss at November 30, 2009 5:21 PM
Comment #291750

bluebuss,

We need a Republican Party, and we need it badly. We have to have an opposing party in order to rein in our own excesses. The problem is, we don’t have a Republican Party now. We have an obstructionist party…one that shows no inclination to help solve problems, shows no willingness to moderate or compromise, and willingly goes against many policy changes even though those changes would be better for the American people.

Help! America needs its Republican Party back…can’t somebody help us?

Posted by: Marysdude at November 30, 2009 5:51 PM
Comment #291751

Stephen:

The American people are not supporting this legislation.

If you had the support of the public on your legislation it would pass.

I understand why you need to blame Republicans instead of deal with your lack of support.

I think a better solution would be to fix the bills so that the American Public would support them!!

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 30, 2009 5:54 PM
Comment #291752

marysdude - let’s see there is buchmann from minnesota, king from iowa, and any repub talking head from texas (i mean honestly stephen how do you stand it?). are those the repub leaders you are looking to? if that is the future as it is the present - i won’t miss a single repub - but, i guess you have guessed that by now. :)~

Posted by: bluebuss at November 30, 2009 5:56 PM
Comment #291756

Howard,

I’ll try to answer this one without going off the deep end. It is not just this major legislation that is at stake. It is everything the Republicans touch. We will get a health care reform through. The process won’t be pretty, but it will happen…but the federal bench is hurting, and that hurts all America. There are countless thousands of policies and appointments that need attention, just to keep us functioning. You would think that with the economic mess left us by the last administration the Republicans would look at priorities and sacrifice a smidgen for America…no such luck.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 30, 2009 7:13 PM
Comment #291779

Craig Holmes-

http://www.pollingreport.com/health.htm

I think things are pretty bloody confused, but one things for sure: a Public Insurance option is supported by the majority.

So are pre-existing condition bans. So is expansion of Medicaid. So is subsidizing insurance for families making less than 88,000 dollars a year. So is the banning of recission policies.

So is raising taxes on rich people to pay for it all. The polls indicate that more people trust Obama on the policy matter than they trust your party.

Tell me: Why then, if this is all about opposing bills that are not supported by the majority of the American people, is the Republican Party’s message also that it is opposing these generously liberally measures of healthcare reform, which are overwhelmingly supported?

See, that’s really having somebody’s hand in the cookie jar, because you explicitly said this is about majority support. And your party opposes these majority-supported policy proposals, especially the Public Option.

This isn’t about majorities. This is ideology. This is the GOP’s cowardly response to it’s dethroning. If you were worried about Democrats taking over, you should have stopped rationalizing the behavior of your Republicans years ago. Bush was only able to do the damage he did because his party never had the heart to keep him accountable. They just kept on trying to put off that reckoning and made it worse.

They’re still trying to put off their own reckoning. It’s not an accident so many of your candidates are lousy, feckless, foolish- or at least appear so to those not devoted to backing your party.

Now we got our problems, but don’t think the Democrats take that lying down. Some are even willing to risk the party’s majority to clean house.

If you put on your party strategist hat, you might see the problem there. Republicans are encouraging a stronger, more united Democratic party. If Republicans wanted to make a long term blow against a stronger Democratic Party, they’d start negotiations. If their behavior keeps up, though, we meet see Democrats less interested in reasoning together with the Republicans, and more interested in giving as good as they get.

If the Republicans lose the filibuster by such means, then everything else hollows out. The GOP will have to hit rock bottom before it will admit that it’s addicted to it’s own media machine, it’s own mutual appreciation society of politicians and media figures.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 1, 2009 12:06 AM
Comment #291784
When I was advocating on behalf of my party, when it was a minority, my solution was not never-ending obstruction.

Stephen,

Your party was doing something that has almost never been done before (1 or 2 instances before that). You defending it by saying that the minority’s purpose is to defeat bills using procedural processes and stand up for your constituents. Do you think that the Republican’s constituents don’t want them doing exactly what they are doing? Making sure that the Democrats pass bills that moderate and liberal Democrats both agree upon? Shouldn’t that be their DUTY?

They are not obstructing, Stephen, they are doing what they can to ensure that non-extreme legislation comes out of the congress, which is what you were all about before.

You don’t like it because it exposes the Democratic party as the weak party that it is, unwilling to call the Republicans on their ‘threats’ of filibuster as you said they were going to do in 2007.

Did they double the filibusters from the congress before? Yes. Did the Democrats double the filibusters from the congresses before?

Those that read what your words were and what they are now are free to judge for themselves. I think it is clear, your fellow Democrats, who admit that they based their views on emotions and not facts, do not think it is clear.

I recommended that the Republicans not do anything to block the Democrats, not to filibuster, because it would allow the weak Democrats the ability to whine, like they do, when they are unwilling to do what it takes to put an end to it. Just make the actually filibuster, they will think twice against it.

The Republicans, of course, rejected my advice. They will pay for it, they are showing their hypocrisy for everyone to see. But don’t think the Democrats get off without theirs being displayed as well.

In fact, for 3rd parties, this is the best of both worlds, more people are now ready for a 3rd party than has existed in quite some time. I’m excited to be getting further into my party’s leadership and being a part of helping do that. 2010 - 2012 is going to be politically interesting, if nothing else.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 1, 2009 1:39 AM
Comment #291788

A third party strong enough to play on the national field would first have to show leadership at local levels. It would have to be the same third party, and not some conglomerate of all known third parties, because we already have that, it’s called the Democratic Party. There is a lot of bleep out there about THIS being the time, but where is the strength of one third party that would be needed for such a feat?

Advocating a third party might be refreshing, stumping for one might be cathartic, but believing such a thing to be viable is folly.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 1, 2009 3:38 AM
Comment #291805

Stephen:

I think things are pretty bloody confused, but one things for sure: a Public Insurance option is supported by the majority.

Tell me: Why then, if this is all about opposing bills that are not supported by the majority of the American people, is the Republican Party’s message also that it is opposing these generously liberally measures of healthcare reform, which are overwhelmingly supported?

The point is that current legislation is not supported by the American people.

It appears you are trying to make the Republican party the issue instead of your own lack of public support.

Kirk in the previous post has a good like of polls that all show this lack of support.

It is important to keep the focus on what does the American People want as that is who we serve.

Come up with a bill with public support and your republican straw man issue will fall because the bill will pass.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 1, 2009 12:32 PM
Comment #291817

Kirk:

not sure where your message went but it looked fine to me.

The basic point to me is that the left is attempting to focus attention on Republicans when the truth is that they just don’t have enough support from the American people to pass this legislation.

It it actually the democrats who are upstructing. If they put into a bill what the majority of americans want instead of what the democratic party wants, it would pass quickly.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 1, 2009 5:39 PM
Comment #291818

Stephen/Marysdude:

Let me give it to you as clearly as I am able. When we went to war with Iraq, about 70% of the American people supported President Bush on his handling of the situation.
Right now Obama has a 40% approval rating on health care.

70% for Bush at the begining of the Iraq war, 40% for Obama on healthcare right now.

That is why Congress is blocked. It’s because you don’t have the support of the American people. It’s not because of Republicans.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 1, 2009 6:01 PM
Comment #291819

Stephen,

Some don’t realize that the 70% approval for the stupidity in Iraq was based
on Republican lies, and the 40% approval for Health Care Reform is despite
Republican lies.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 1, 2009 7:22 PM
Comment #291838

Marysdude,

Some don’t realize that the 70% approval for invading Iraq was present BEFORE Bush took office and 9/11 happened…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 1, 2009 11:20 PM
Comment #291854

The point is that when the vote was taken the majority party was united and the minority party was divided an the motion passed overwelmingly.

Now you have a majority of Americans against the bills in congress, and you have the majority party divided, and the minority party united.

It all flows from public support.

This argument that it’s the Republican’s fault is hogwash. It’s that there isn’t support for this bill.

Change the bill to get support from the American people and it will pass!!!

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 2, 2009 12:32 AM
Comment #291856

I wouldn’t want to be a democrat running in a red or purple state if this thing passess over the will of the american people. Wow!!!

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 2, 2009 12:42 AM
Comment #291916

craig it is you at odds w/your own party. EVERY repub has said “we need healthcare reform”. every single one of them. then, quickly followed by: just not what the dems are proposing. and NONE of them have come up w/anything but the same tired “tort reform”.

so, find me one of your own who states that the status quo is working. you can’t.

you and your polls. nice, and i bet if someone polled the homeless, you would get 100% in favor of health care reform. but, why ask the poor they do not count anyway right.

Posted by: bluebuss at December 2, 2009 3:30 PM
Comment #292101

bluebuss

tort reform, portability, and gov’t mandates are three major factors in the cost of health insurance. if democrats were willing to address these issues in the bill you might find some sort of compromise on the part of the republicans, but the dems are doing the same thing reps. did, shutting them out of the process.

we keep hearing the same tired line from democrats reffering to the reps as the party of no, and the party with no ideas. the truth is the reps have ideas the dems just don’t like them, nor do thier political allies, and doners. end result, ignor them and block any reform they propose.****pot meet kettle***

Posted by: dbs at December 5, 2009 8:07 AM
Comment #292319

The problem may not be so much lack of ideas as it is lack of compromise. Republicans don’t just say NO, they say NO COMPROMISE. They deal from a weak hand, but act as though they are the dealer. By walking in political lockstep, they can effectively block any good policy from enactment, because Democrats have not learned the political art of ‘lockstep’. I rue the day when my party becomes as obstructionist as the other one has become.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 9, 2009 7:25 PM
Comment #380607

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