Democrats & Liberals Archives

Sen. Bunning's Bravely Crass Selfishness

If you read just what was written across the way, you might get the impression that Sen. Bunning of Kentucky was a courageous fellow. Well, not by my definition. Courage and bravery are what we call it when you risk yourself. What Bunning risked was doing harm to others simply to settle a political point about how money was being spent. People depend on our government, and on Congress to do its job, not screw around trying to score political points.

First, what were the consequences of Bunning's Obstruction, or what could they have been, if the Senate hadn't stopped him?

Well, first and foremost, his actions put the unemployment benefits of thousands of out of work Americans in jeopardy. No biggie. Unfortunately, the furor that erupted over this forced him to miss his basketball game.

Second, his glorious valor on the field of political battle put two thousand federal employees on furlough until the whole mess could be sorted out. But that wasn't it on that:

Federal reimbursements to states for highway programs will also be halted, the Transportation Department said in a statement late Sunday. The reimbursements amount to about $190 million a day, according to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The furloughs and freeze on payments were the result of a decision last week by Republican Sen. Jim Bunning to block passage of legislation that would have extended federal highway and transit programs, the department said. Those programs expired at midnight Sunday.

And if you thought that was bad, listen to this:

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) is already infamous for blocking a temporary extension of unemployment and COBRA benefits for out of work Americans. But included in that package is legislation to prevent a mandatory pay cut for doctors--and by standing in its way, he's triggered a 21 percent fee reduction to doctors seeing Medicare patients starting today.

The cuts would also extend to the doctors seeking reimbursement from the military's Tricare system. Hell of way to support the troops, Jim!

But seriously, folks, actions have consequences. Bunning wasn't merely scoring political points, he was doing so at the expense of the hardest hit folks in this economic downturn.

This certainly got the Democrat's notice. Blood in the water, if you will, because it put a clear face on what Republicans are doing in the big picture with their relentless filibustering. Americans have likely let the Republicans do what they've done without political consequence because they simply hadn't noticed. But this? This is kind of hard to miss, and I would say impossible to justify economically, fiscally, or in good conscience. The only way to justify it is through blind partisanship that cares more about the style of government, the size of government, than it does about the responsiblities of government, and the priorities of the naiton.

Republicans have glorified dysfunction, delay, and dishonesty in the service of their political ends. Everything is justified, even thing that Republicans shouldn't be touching with a ten-foot poll. There seems to be a hubris about the party that it can justify any failing, any mistake, any outrage, because it has an ideologically captive audience for its talking points and party discipline that seems likely to outlast the party itself. It is on track to more than double the previous Congress' record on obstruction. And that was 112 cloture votes forced. We've had twenty just in the first two months of this year. We've also had continued filibustering of Obama's slate of nominees, even in one case where the nominee for the federal bench was unanimously approved in committee, and in the Senate after the cloture vote was finally held.

Nearly seven months ago, President Obama nominated Judge Barbara Milano Keenan to serve on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Her record and qualifications were beyond reproach, and she enjoyed the enthusiastic support of her home-state's senators, Virginia's Jim Webb (D) and Mark Warner (D).

Her nomination was considered nearly six months ago by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which approved Keenan unanimously -- not a single Republican raised an objection. If ever there was going to be an Obama judicial nominee who deserved to be quickly and easily confirmed, Keenan fit the bill.

But that's not what happened.

Keenan's nomination was delayed for months by a filibuster, only to see her win unanimous confirmation. In other words, those who sought to block her nomination ultimately voted against their own obstructionism, and for the judge they tried to stop.

It's one thing to block an up-or-down vote on a judge some senators find problematic. But we have a Senate where Republicans filibuster nominees who enjoy unanimous support. We're left with a confirmation process in which it takes seven months to approve arguably the least controversial judicial nominee this administration will ever send to the Senate.

Are we really getting into honest political differences here, the filibuster being used to negotiate, to protect interests, or anything else like that? Or is the whole point to dilute and destroy the power voters have handed Obama and the Democrats in no uncertain terms, out of the party's overall political self-interests?

We announce plans to use reconciliation, and Republicans conveniently forget their long history of using it, especially for the Bush Tax cuts, which have cost trillions of dollars on top of already existing budget difficulties, and call it the nuclear option. Never mind the fact that the Nuclear Option was an abolition of the filibuster proposed by the Republicans when they had their hissy-fit over a handful of denied judges. As it stands now, there are about a hundred vacancies on the Federal bench, and not filling them has hindered the judiciary branch's ability to function.

The Republicans have become all too bold and brazen about saying anything and doing anything they see fit to do, to further their party. They no longer acknowledge the costs of their actions, or they excuse them by reasoning that the good of the country is worth some temporary pain and suffering. It's a rather patronizing attitude, and it wears on those of us who care less whether a policy is liberal or conservative, and more about whether it works.

The Republicans seem intent on doing everything it takes to deny Democrats power, even power they earned by winning free and fair elections. Nothing in the constitution gives the minority the right to hobble the majority's power, even with cause. The Framers assumed that the state legislatures would dispense with those Senators who failed to serve their state properly. And now, with the popular election of the Senate, we can safely assume that the people who wrote up that Amendment did not see the filibuster as a comprehensive solution to a minority's anxiety about political change. In just a few months, the Republicans have forced more cloture votes than were forced by partisans in decades worth of previous Senates.

There is a letter somewhere where somebody was talking about Medicare being guaranteed to pass, because it had 55 votes to it. That controversial bill, passed by a majority that today's Republicans would not deign to dignify. The principle of majority rules was good enough for almost two hundred years worth of Senators as the threshold for passing ordinary legislation. The question is, why is the historical precedent of majority-rules democracy no longer good enough for the Republican Party in the Senate ?

Bunning's arrogance and callous disregard for the fortunes of this country are just a small, but revealing window into the larger arrogance and callous behavior of a political minority that feels itself entitled to govern this country in the name of some mystical silent majority.

What they, and Bunning forget is that the Framers sought to have a country ruled by the majorities that spoke up on election day. In a Democracy, there is no such thing as a Silent Majority. There are the majorities of the folks who speak up, and everybody else. Majority rule, which Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said was akin to a mugging, akin to the tyranny of Hugo Chavez' government.

Should it not concern us when the Lords and Ladies of the Republican Party condescend to tell us that we should fear the depredations of "majoritarian rule"? When they're telling us to be afraid of our own elected officials? If Americans do not like what the Senate does, if they think it goes to far, they have no need of a filibustering vigilante group of Senators to stop these men and women who aren't doing their will. The Constitution provides for the election of other Senators, other Representatives, when the ones who are present don't do their jobs to proper specifications.

We should trust to Democracy to moderate our national legislature, not the minority-driven tyranny of a movement of blanket obstructionism. The few were not meant to rule the many in this country, the power was supposed to flow down in the opposite direction from us to them. If the Republicans are in the minority, voters had a good reason for it, and Republicans are spitting on the will of the American people, even as they claim to fulfill it.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at March 3, 2010 8:49 PM
Comments
Comment #296670

Stephen
Democrats wanted paygo, it passed. So your saying it’s ok for Democrats to skirt the law yet you want Republicans to follow the letter of the law. Although I agree unemployment is important but your party made the rule. Like WR said it’s the Democrats fault they wanted the law and got it. Now you don’t want to follow it.

Posted by: KAP at March 3, 2010 10:08 PM
Comment #296673

KAP-
Emergency extension of Unemployment benefits, a skirting of Paygo?

Just for the sake of context, every other Senator voted yes on the issue in question. 99 fricking senators. This was not a controversial issue, and nobody else had the stupidity to make this “brave stand.”

This talking point is after-the-fact damage control. The Republicans got smacked hard by the Democrats on this, and with good reason: what better demonstration of GOP callousness could you imagine? The Senate has other methods to address this, and Bunning wasn’t smart enough to avail himself of them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 3, 2010 10:28 PM
Comment #296675

Stephen,

Why haven’t the Democrats done this more? This seemed to be effective. I don’t understand the reluctance of the Democrats to use parlimentary procedures that are available to them, and then instead whine about the Republican’s doing it.

The filibuster on Keenan’s nomination wasn’t a real filibuster. It was a pocket filibuster by one unknown (presumably Republican) senator. This is precisely what the cloture votes are meant to solve. There is no reason that Democrats should not use them.

While I by no means support the action that Bunning took, I do understand it. Your royal indignation is misplaced here. He had a legitimate point that he wanted made; he bucked his own party to make it, and he was shut down through the cloture process. This is not unusual in the Senate.

Posted by: Rob at March 3, 2010 10:39 PM
Comment #296683

KAP-
Is there anything that you’re not planning to justify by calling the Democrats hypocrites? At some point, does anything matter other than Bashing Democrats?

The Government has responsibilities. There are ways to discuss topics like this in the Senate without outrageous lapses in duty. Myself, I would rather do violence to my principles than do harm to the citizens of this country. Principles poorly and harmfully expressed are the paving stones on the road to hell.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 3, 2010 11:23 PM
Comment #296688

Stephen your party wanted the law they got it. Now they don’t want to follow it. So you condone your parties breaking a law they wanted? Is that it? Your party can break laws and you blow it off. Yes it was bad timing on Bunning’s part I even said that. But does that justify your party breaking a law even in an emergency when money could have been allocated from other sorcess. That’s the hypocrisy of the situation Stephen you can’t tell me your party couldn’t allocated the money from the unspent stimulus or paid back tarp.

Posted by: KAP at March 3, 2010 11:49 PM
Comment #296692

At least the Republicans have found a candidate to run against the Health Care agenda. His platform is in the first line of the story.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/world/middleeast/04baghdad.html?hp=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1267680035-Du660e33E+6e2JyQ+04u7g

Posted by: gergle at March 4, 2010 12:21 AM
Comment #296694

KAP,

I believe, the “unspent” money in the stimulus is money allocated to projects that haven’t come to fruition yet, so spending that money really isn’t that much of an option. Spending the returned TARP money or finding some other revenue source would be a more realistic possibility.

Also, we must not forget that Bunning is a hypocrite as well for opposing PayGo last month and the becoming its defender this month.

SD,
I wrote something in C+J’s column before I noticed you had written your own column, but I’ll write here as well. Feel free to consolidate your response here (or there) so our discussion isn’t split between the two columns.

While the Constitution enshrines the concept of majority rule, it also enshrines the concept of the rule of law. I agree with you that the GOP in Congress has been acting very childlike over the past year with unprecedented obstruction. However, this occasion is a rarity in which Bunning actually has some justification.

For me, this has been a specter of something that has been churning in me for a few months. While I agree with the substance of most of the policies of the Democratic Party, however the process by which most of them have been advanced is disgusting. The Democrats in Washington have shown a complete arrogance with respect to what the people want. I’m talking about the sweet deals the right-wing Democratic Senators got last fall. I’m talking about the proposals to exempt Unions from the excise tax that would have finally begun the process of removing the connection between health insurance and employment. Basically, I don’t like the attitude that there’s one set of rules for Congresspeople to follow and another set of rules for you and I. Recent revelations regarding Charles Rangel are even more disappointing. And now this blatant refusal to follow the rules only last month? I recall Democrats were very eager in February to announce to the world that Republicans had opposed a proposal to Pay-as-you-go at the same time that the GOP was decrying the largest post WWII deficits in history.

Hopefully the reconciliation with the Senate Health Care fix will go smoothly in both chambers and then the Democrats can get back to work trying restore the people’s trust in them. I really don’t want Republicans to take control of Congress because Harry Reid is an incompetent Majority Leader. We already have had enough bad experience with that; don’t let it come back.

Posted by: Warped Reality at March 4, 2010 12:59 AM
Comment #296695

Paygo legislation applies to the 2011 budget.

Bunning wants to start now, and who does he target? Big banks paying million dollar bonuses out of taxpayer money? American corporations who situate their headquarters abroad to avoid paying taxes? Cutting military spending? No. He targets one of the most desperate and distressed sectors of the population, the unemployed. After years of saying nothing, or actively collaborating in tanking the budget, that is where Bunning wants to start. Seriously, what a ****. Most conservatives and Republicans have no difficulty seeing just how despicable Bunning is. I’m floored that some on Watchblog would applaud Bunning for any reason whatsoever. He is almost universally despised. Sheesh, even Mitch McConnell dislikes Bunning. Is there any proposal too low for conservatives? What next- death panels for the unemployed? ‘Gee, it’s a poorly timed idea, these death panels for people who lose their jobs, but as a conservative and deficit hawk, I admire Bunning for taking on this lazy and unnecessary part of the populace. The death panels would be a nice incentive to avoid getting laid off.’

How far down will conservatives sink? Where is the floor for conservative whackjobbery?

Posted by: phx8 at March 4, 2010 1:02 AM
Comment #296707

Warped Reality-
I’m disgusted with many of the deals, too. But I understand what’s making it necessary: a sixty vote cloture vote that has to succeed on any legislation that must pass.

The Democrats are in a position where nothing less than ramming things through on a party line allows them to pass legislation. They have to make all the deals, burn all the political capital it takes just to get that sixty.

It’s Republicans like Bunning who are forcing this, through a party line vote against cloture that has allowed them to provide almost all the votes necessary to kill one bill after another. Hundreds of bills have died in the Senate because of their obstruction, and they’re breaking even their own previous records in terms of the cloture votes they’ve forced.

I read about these things just about every day. Bunning’s complaint was that we weren’t taking funds from the stimulus program, already set to go to economically beneficial programs, to use for this unemployment extension. Or put another way, he’d rather us pay to deal with the symptom of the unemployment problem, rather than solve the problem itself.

The Republicans aren’t dealing in good faith here, or standing on principle. Nearly every one of them voted to push through this extension. They justify it after the fact now because the last thing that will make Republicans look good for the coming elections, is the disruption of aid to the unemployed.

I don’t mind that you dislike the deals. I do, too. But I’d rather get some good done than none, and the Republicans are doing their best to make sure nothing gets done so they don’t have competition in policy terms when the elections come in November.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 4, 2010 10:14 AM
Comment #296713

So Stephen your saying it’s ok for Democrats to use sleezy tactics but not Republicans. Talk about HYPOCRITICAL!!!!!

Posted by: KAP at March 4, 2010 11:47 AM
Comment #296715

More proof that money is more important than people.

Posted by: Stephen Hines at March 4, 2010 1:03 PM
Comment #296722

KAP-
No. It’s not okay. There’s always a tradeoff between the politics and the need for good policies. I want it to be made on the side of doing some good for the people. I would prefer that things be pure of such wheeling and dealing, but understand that even as that struggle continues, law and policy must still come in a timely fashion.

I guess that’s hypocrisy to you. To me, it’s reasoning that the occasional political deal that gets legislation past an unreasonable barrier can be better than doing nothing to confront a problem that won’t wait for the purification of the ranks of Congress.

Politics to me is not the canvas on which I paint my hopes and dreams, supposing that my ideals can be perfectly translated. There’s never a clean slate. American politics always hides another picture underneath the seemingly clean portrait of the olden years. Republicans support the policies they support nowadays because they often have little sense of how much policies that are the same have failed over time.

Bunning’s actions are comparable to the Government Shutdown of 1995. They make the Republicans look more radical, bolster the image of the other party as the mature one.

But Republicans, who refuse to look at themselves from outside as much as they should, do not see this as a problem. They reinforce their own image of themselves, not really allowing what others think shame them or lead them to reconsider their actions.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 4, 2010 2:07 PM
Comment #296724

Stephen when you condem others, like you have been doing to republicans for using questionable tactics, then you go ahead and use those same tactics. That is being HYPOCRITICAL. The same goes for reconcilliation The President Himself said he would not pass HC with 50 + 1. Your party complained when Republicans did it, now they want to use it and not for what reconcilliation was intended for at that. So you can go ahead and defend all you want but it dosen’t alter the fact that it is HYPOCRITICAL.

Posted by: KAP at March 4, 2010 2:26 PM
Comment #296730

KAP-
That’s your new favorite word, isn’t it?

Reconciliation was originally used in order to pass controversial budget measures that were meant to reduce deficits past the Senate, where a person might be inclined to protect their interests with a filibuster.

Ironically enough, it’s what Bush used to pass tax cuts that cost trillions in deficit spending. Reconciliation was great and wonderful when they used it.

Now, your boys in the Republican Party use it to oppose a healthcare plan, which as configured now, according to the CBO, stands to be better than deficit neutral.

As for 50+1 politics? The question is whether you yourself defend the filibusters If you do, you have no business blaming us for seeking ways to pass legislation past your party’s blockade. If you don’t, then why don’t you join me in supporting up-or-down votes for the Democrat’s agenda?

You can use capitals or whatever you want for emphasis, the fact of the matter is, a majority should be sufficient to pass most legislation is a crime against the voters. Majorities should rule, that shouldn’t be optional depending on which party is in power.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 4, 2010 3:34 PM
Comment #296734

Your right Stephen a majority should be sufficent to pass legislation except when that majority is going against the majority of their constituents then it is a crime against the voters. Congress was elected to represent those who elected them, Not to do what they want or what they think is right. Yes Republicans oppose HC, at least the Democratic version that’s politics. Your party will oppose things the Republicans propose that they think is good for the country, that’s politics. It’s time congress listened to the people instead of being arrogant thinking they know whats best.

Posted by: KAP at March 4, 2010 4:10 PM
Comment #296752

KAP-
If we go against the majority of our constituents, then they can elect somebody else. They don’t need big brother GOP to protect them from the Congress that they elected.

The odd thing is, that protection preceded the polls you cite as evidence that the protection is needed.

The Filibusters have been ongoing since the Democrats got into power, despite two elections where Americans rejected the Republicans. I know this because I’ve paid attention to the news on the subject. That’s why I know the figures on the filibusters.

The Republicans did not wait for the polls to swing in their favor to start shutting out Democratic Party legislation. Therefore, the Republicans did not start the filibusters to address the needs of the majority.

The trick is, the Republicans have not saved their obstruction for bills that were unpopular, their obstruction has been general, even on bills and measures that had bipartisan support when they came to a vote. That includes Bunning’s little brave stand. He stood alone, the sole man rejecting all this.

And look at Shelby’s earlier stand on Administration nominees. A blanket block. Why, because they were all too liberal? No, because he didn’t get the pork he wanted.

You’re trapped by your assumptions into all kinds of misconceptions about who we are and what we stand for, what the true outrages are, and what are merely partisan tea-cup tempests.

It’s difficult and aggravating trying to correct the Republicans on their errors concerning who we are, and what our politics are. They depend on generations worth of misinformation drilled into them cradle-to-grave by self-interested politicians who want a captive audience, rather than a thinking constituency that might actually demand real bravery and independence of their leaders.

The Democrat’s version of healthcare reform polls fine so long as you ignore the misleading impression about the overall bill, fostered by a year and a half of unadulterated Republican Party hack-generated hatred poured upon it. It’s amazing what one can do to reputations of politicians and impressions of legislation when you can throw vitriol at the target with little regard for the facts.

Thus does a middle of the Road Democrats like Obama become a Socialist and far-leftist to the vast majority of Republicans, who hear nothing but that kind of slander about him. When you discourage people from trusting a media supposedly pitted politically against them, it’s very easy to prevent their views from getting truly balanced out by factchecking and other non-party engine news.

You think you’re independent. You’re not until you stop buying the media myths that the right peddles, because all that misinformation is designed to keep people like you, disgusted with the party, but still trusting the pundits, from truly thinking for yourselves.

True independence requires that you hunt for the truth on your own. You might find out things like this.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 4, 2010 9:19 PM
Comment #296754

Stephen
Isn’t electing a Representative to congress supposed to Represent their constituents? By what your saying a Representative can tell his constituents to F themselves and vote against their wishes. Maybe that’s the case where your from but not where I live at least my congressman does listen even though I don’t like him, And I think he wants to keep his job.
.

Posted by: KAP at March 4, 2010 9:47 PM
Comment #296795

KAP-
There’s no way to get a perfect telepathic connnection. When you have hundreds of thousands, if not millions of constituents, you can’t ask enough people what they want, you have to guess, and meanwhile, the reality is, you’re going to see and hear things that they won’t, and you’ll have to decide sometimes between doing what’s right, and what the political environment makes popular, or makes seem to be popular.

My sensibility is, get the policy right, and do your best to make that popular so that it continues to be done right. It’s not a matter of being a pre-programmed robot for your constituents. It’s a matter of having responsibility delegated to you, and its important for you to do the closest thing you can to the right thing under the circumstances. If I hate the Republican’s leadership for anything, it’s that they’re taking the cowardly route of doing nothing, and making sure nothing gets done, rather than take the steps necessary to both propose serious action that can pass the Senate and House, or compromise so that what the Democrats pass serves their constituents as well.

See, doing this, they don’t have to defend actual policy. They can can just attack, and throw perjoratives at people, and say, oh, you’re in control, so you’re to blame if something goes wrong. And they can vilify everything we do so they can get the polls to justify the obstruction they were already doing four years before the fact.

This is not a kind of politics that’s in touch with reality, nor does it truly serve the people, even if it gratifies the partisans who elect them.

The reason the Republicans lost the last two election, is that they’ve constantly put the country’s best interests behind the interests of their party, albeit out of a belief that they alone can do best for the country. Because they’re willing to let things go to hell to get things their way politically, people made the judgment that it was better to go for somebody willing to do something for the country.

I think the Republicans and the folks on the right have too much self-flattery going on in their ranks. They think too highly of what they’re doing, in comparison to what everybody else thinks. It lends them an air of confidence sometimes, but it also leads them to take their politics too far, and too seriously, especially when they’re screwing things up.

Republicans need to stop trying to be invulnerable to everybody else’s opinion, above everybody else’s advice. They’re making a political argument out of things that they should be looking at on a factual basis instead.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 5, 2010 8:41 AM
Comment #296798

Stephen your making excuses and pretty lame ones at that.

Posted by: KAP at March 5, 2010 9:56 AM
Comment #296810

KAP-
If reality is an excuse, then so be it. The point of representative Democracy is delegation. With delegation, it’s rather mediocre to expect somebody to simply do what they promise to do, and what it polls well to do. We would hope that even if it doesn’t seem so at the time, our leader we’ve elected take us in the right direction, rather than simply following the whims of the crowd without thought or logic.

We would like folks in charge that are good at doing good for the American people, not simply at getting themselves reelected or elected.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 5, 2010 5:52 PM
Comment #296811

If every elected official acted the way you say Stephen we would still be bowing to King George.

Posted by: KAP at March 5, 2010 6:09 PM
Comment #296814

KAP-
Spare me the jingo. Try and make the opposite case from me. Are you and all the other constituents on the phone everyday relating orders to that Senator or Representative?

No.

Do we all get together and hold referendums on how they’re supposed to vote on each and every bill?

No.

Do we have telepathi-

No.

Loud voices?

You must be joking.

Seriously, though, we delegate the decisionmaking to them, giving them a generalized sense of what they’re supposed to do. Once elected, they’re free to do whatever crap they see fit, with the proviso, of course, that if they make too many mistakes, or contradict their constituent’s actual wishes too much, they’ll find somebody else elected in their place next time around.

The real question you got to answer is, what is their job. Are they supposed to doggedly poll, and follow the polls?

Trouble is, public opinion isn’t necessary self-consistent, nor is it uniform. But also, folks sworn in are supposed to do more than just chase public opinion.

The Dilemma here is that they will be held accountable for what they do wrong, so, if avoiding crossing public opinion on one subject leads them to allow something to remain bad, or if they do something dumb for that sake, they’ll pay the price when that stuff blows up in their face.

This is the real world, where doing the right thing by the voter sometimes involves figuring out the right thing for yourself, and doing it, rather than reduce everything to polling and politics.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 5, 2010 11:37 PM
Comment #296821

Yes Stephen I write my congressman and I voiced my opinion on HC. He is one of the most liberal congressman in congress and he voted against it. I don’t know about your congress people but where I’m from they tend to listen to what their constituents say.

Posted by: KAP at March 6, 2010 9:49 AM
Comment #296827

I wonder why KAP’s Congressman listens to KAP’s desires as a constituent…why does he miss the opportunity to listen to those who’s views differ? Are they not also his constituents? If this guy is a liberal Congressman, why would he rather live in the dark ages of Reaganomics and Cheney/Bush mumbo-jumbo, than come into the progressive light like a good liberal should? Why don’t I think KAP’s Congressman is a liberal? Why do I think KAP’s Congressman is either a Republican or a Blue-dog (might as well be Republican)?

Posted by: Marysdude at March 6, 2010 3:15 PM
Comment #296828

Dude
His name is Dennis Kucinich and he ain’t no Republican or Blue Dog. But he does listen to his constituents. Maybe some other liberal Democrat congress persons should listen to theirs DUDE. Could it be maybe he wants to keep his job?

Posted by: KAP at March 6, 2010 3:57 PM
Comment #296831

Maybe that’s the problem Dude thinking progressives got all the answers and everyone should bow to their wims and maybe you are finding out people don’t want the BS your trying to peddle.

Posted by: KAP at March 6, 2010 4:45 PM
Comment #296832

KAP. Progressives don’t have any answers. We only see things. Other things we don’t see. In 1929 we saw the ticker tape for the stock market show some negative news. We didn’t see a wheat field in Australia disappear into thin air as a result of cause and effect because of that event. We see jobs outsourced to other countries. We don’t see houses disappearing into thin air because of that. We see a man with a gun knocking at the door with orders to vacate. We see vacant housing and homeless children and believe that that is immoral. SILLY, NAIVE US.

Posted by: Stephen Hines at March 6, 2010 5:06 PM
Comment #296834

KAP,

None of the above.

There is an experiment going on at high levels, and you say I think I have all the answers. KAP, I don’t even have all the questions. Here’s what I know for sure…Republicans led us into a deep depression that spanned the globe in the early thirties. Republicans have again led us into something near as bed for us and almost as bad for the world. And, now you tell me I’m passing out BS, when all I want is for the grand experiment to for forward. It is not rocket science…if bad things happen under conservative auspices and progressives manage to turn the bad to good…WTF?

How can you not want what is best for America? If you say conservative policies are the answer, then you apparently are not looking at the history of conservatism in America, and must, by extratpolation, be the one passing the BS around.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 6, 2010 6:19 PM
Comment #296836

KAP-
Kucinich? I don’t particularly care for his politics. For me persuasion and action are more important than expression and opinionation. The world is full of people who think they know best. The real task in politics, though, is actually knowing what you’re doing both in running and selling your policy.

In that order, to be sure. The Democrats task, I think, is transforming from a party that’s been able to safely go in all kinds of different directions, to one that can govern. Throwing a wrench into that, short term, is the Republican blockade of the Senate. Long term, though, I think the irony will be that it will take a much shorter time for Democrats to become more united because the Republicans have made them pay such a heavy price for not having their **** together.

But if you take the longer view over the last decade, you will see see a broader pattern emerge: Democrats were fairly quiet and complacent after they lost Congress, and they were getting to a point where they were mostly fine with playing second banana. And then the Republicans had to start pushing things. Republicans got greedy in terms of power, and used an event that the smart folks would have consolidated a quiet steady majority out of, and made it into a bludgeon that forced Democrats to fight for their political survival.

It’s no coincidence that Obama had to face down the Clintons in the wake of all this, during the Democratic Presidential Primary. The Clintons represented the more accommodating wing of the Democratic Party.

What the Republicans did, though, was reward that accommodation with humiliations, that, or forcing Democrats into votes that would undermine their later credibility among their own constituents. Republicans failed to understand how delicate the balance they were pushing was, and they pushed too far.

The result is, folks like me, who would have sought a quieter, more gradual path back to the majority, who would have gladly backed cooperation with the Republicans felt that for practical and political reason, that kind of bipartisanship’s days were numbered. On one hand, it was letting policy both terrible in quality and implication get passed. On the other, Democrats themselves were being made irrelevant, forced to be rubberstamps for that policy.

Democrats had a choice: adapt politically, or die. We chose to adapt. We chose to respond to Republicans attempts to makes us a permanent majority by carrying out political strategies that put them in the minority instead.

It’s ironic that people like you complain about being forced to stay quiet, not do anything, because that was the very thing that the Republicans were trying to do, and continue to try to do with their filibustering.

Democrats like me have made the decision that we will not have this, will not tolerate this. Republicans fear this without good reason, but it is ironically the position they put others in, others who decided that the Republicans had been in charge long enough.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 6, 2010 7:18 PM
Comment #296844

Stephen I read the post in the red column that you wrote in 2005. It’s ironic that you approve of your party doing then, what the republicans are doing now. Don’t give me that crap that it was different for your party. You just made the decision that you will not tolerate it for anyone else but the Democrats. Your poliitics and policies are going to put you back in the minority because the American people are waking up and not as stupid as you and the rest of the progressives or liberals, whatever you want to call yourself, are making them out to be. The American people are not going to tolerate the BS that your party or the Republicans are doing. Your party had it’s chance and blew it and can’t blame anyone but themselves. Come November we will see what happens and IMO you are going to be a very disappointed young man.

Posted by: KAP at March 6, 2010 8:43 PM
Comment #296845

Dude Bush may have gotten us into a resesssion but your progressives are putting us deeper into it. Don’t give me the crap that your party is getting us out of it because if anything it will be the private sector if any getting us out of it. Yes I want what’s best for this country but the crap you progressives are dishing out ain’t it. Like I just said to Stephen your policies and politics are going to put you back in the minority. The American people aren’t as stupid as you progressives make them out to be.

Posted by: KAP at March 6, 2010 8:56 PM
Comment #296847

Hines, Progressives don’t have any answers, then I guess we better fire Pelosi, Reid, Obama, and all their buddies couse they ain’t going to do squat for this country. Concerning the housing market if morgage companies weren’t stupid in knowingly loaning money to people who they knew were buying homes way above their income maybe you wouldn’t have that guy with the gun telling them to vacate. Jobs being outsourced, I blame some of that on the unions and their greed. I used to be pro union till I got screwed by one now I wouldn’t go to work in a union shop for anything. The depression of 1929 I wasn’t around for that so I won’t comment.

Posted by: KAP at March 6, 2010 9:21 PM
Comment #296867

KAP,

I condemn what has been proven to be true…you condemn what might prove to be true…if…if…if you cannot see the difference, my condolences.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 7, 2010 9:06 AM
Comment #296871

KAP-

Stephen I read the post in the red column that you wrote in 2005. It’s ironic that you approve of your party doing then, what the republicans are doing now.

It’s wrong that you say I approve. I did not approve of my party going down the route of a scorched-earth policy. Instead, I advocated for my party to take things over by democratic, rather than parliamentary methods.

Go ahead. Go back to 2005, and look at what I wrote.

Are those the words of somebody who favored the kind of scorched-earth policy that Republicans do?

I supported the filibuster because I wanted the Republicans to sometimes be forced to listen, to concede. But I did not advocate for it as a replacement for the cultivation of liberal majority rule in the country.

I think the Republican policy, when you get past the tough exterior, is a truly pathetic and malformed kind of political desperation. The Republicans do not have the confidence in their own policies to win on those merits alone. They have to make sure Democrats achieve nothing so their achievement of nothing for the American people, nothing or worse, will not be noticed.

In other words, my support then was about Democrats being able to have any seat on the table at all. What the Republicans are supporting is Democrats being brought down to the Republican’s level of mediocrity.

Forgive me if I want less mediocrity in government, not more. I have always been fighting for a government that handles things in an objectively better way, not one that collapses in on itself in a cloud of partisan rancor. Gridlock may be the friend of those who hate government, hate authority, and hate liberals, but to me, it is a failure of Washington’s accountability, a failure of the Representatives and Senators execution of their jobs.

I believe that while the Federal government should not intervene anywhere and everywhere, that we need a strong, robust government that looks out for the interests of its many citizens. What the Republicans are doing, why they are doing it, and the policies they’re supporting through that obstruction are an abomination to me, because they stand in the way of the majority of people in this country seeing the kind of government they want, and worse yet, in the purpose of restoring the same mediocre party to power, without their having learned their lessons.

I did not fight to save the filibuster so it could be used to deny the majority its mandate to lead. I supported the minority retaining a voice, not the minority shouting down the majority on every matter of importance, regardless of the need for reform.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 7, 2010 11:03 AM
Comment #296877

Stephen
From what I read of your post you are a true Democrat. Whatever they do is peachy keen to you they can do no wrong in your eyes. They can do but the other can’t. In most of your post you comment on how Republicans should be more like Democrats, How Absurd. I expect each and every representative to act in the best interest of their constituents and not have the arrogant attitude they know what’s best as some in your party are doing. Like I said before I don’t like your Ideals and you don’t like mine, I’m not going to change you nor you me. IMO Democrats are going in the wrong direction.

Posted by: KAP at March 7, 2010 12:02 PM
Comment #296881

KAP-
I will not let the Republicans rule the debate with paranoid, inaccurate accounts of what we want out of our policies. I am not going to respect arguments that essentially tell me I’m a communist terrorist sympathizer. I am not going to validate them.

My people are far from perfect. We’re having to drag stuff that should be basic party discipline out of these people. My commitment is not to claim they’re doing no wrong. It’s to watch them like a hawk and call for action when they are doing wrong.

If you want to confront me with arguments that I am a socialist and I want to see my country blamed first at the very least, and destroyed at worst, then I’m not going to concede much of anything, because that would have me be a party to a slander to myself. I’m not going to help you smear my party’s name with falsehoods and lies.

If your people discuss policy, we will discuss policy. But I am not going to gratify those who want me to concede that my party’s trying to destroy America, because precisely the opposite is true of virtually all Democrats.

I will say this again: I supported what I supported as an occasional tactic. But when push came to shove, I believed that my party truly needed to take back the majority, rather than simply acting as an anchor on the existing majority party.

This thing the Republicans are doing, I don’t think I would be so lacking in self-respect that I’d sign onto it. It’s a desperate, politically tone-deaf, and nihilistic thing to do in the middle of a whole set of crises, and it reflects a lack of faith in the American system of Democracy to correct itself.

The Republicans are doing this, and can only be doing this because they do not trust the voters to opposed the Democrats from the get go.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 7, 2010 4:38 PM
Comment #296882

We’ve already BEEN the wrong direction…been there, done that! How can anyone know Democrats are going in the wrong direction when the direction they want to go is the direction diametrically opposed to the direction we know to have been wrong…now that’s just wrong-headed, egoistic blather, and obviously headed in the wrong direction…

Posted by: Marysdude at March 7, 2010 4:47 PM
Comment #296883

Stephen
Like I said, I don’t like your ideaology you don’t like mine. Lets agree to disagree.
Dude
Whatever.

Posted by: KAP at March 7, 2010 5:01 PM
Comment #296919

I just read why Kucinich has gone into negotiation over the health care reform legislation…he’s so progressive, he doesn’t want to sign on unless the language about single payor insurance is stronger. Now I know which constituents he has been listening to.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 8, 2010 6:04 PM
Comment #296925

Yea he don’t like it because of the public option being excluded among other things Dude. That just shows me that your party can’t agree on HC between themselves. You take out one thing progressives don’t agree, another moderates don’t agree, another conservative Democrats don’t agree.

Posted by: KAP at March 8, 2010 9:38 PM
Comment #296928

KAP,

Democrats tend to think for themselves…some would say that’s a good thing.

Lockstep is too Hitleresque to suit me. You may enjoy it, but…why? What do you get out of spouting the same nonsense as Glen Beck?

Tell me something…what two people in the history of America have been lied about more than Bill Clinton and Al Gore? The reason those lies found so much foundation is the lockstep mentality that you righties espouse so readily. Lie, get your brothers to lie, repeat the lie, have it repeated by your brothers, then repeat it again and again, until it becomes mainstream lore. At the end of the day, you win…but, at what cost? What is the payoff for such brutal activity? President Obama asked America if it wanted health care reform. America answered in the affirmative, then the lies took over and somewhere in time we are supposed to believe that there will be a conservative winner…but, at what cost? For several years (1932 to 1944) Adolph Hitler was considered a winner…but at what cost? General Sherman was a scorched earth winner…but, at what cost?

Posted by: Marysdude at March 8, 2010 10:27 PM
Comment #296930

Dude
Clinton was caught in a lie and Gore his credability is questionable so what has that got to do with the present. Obama asked if we wanted HC reform, granted everyone wants reform but a majority don’t want the Democratic version. Why is that so hard to grasp? What good will jamming a bill through congress that is unpopular and at what cost to your party. You can spout off all you want but the fact remains that a majority of Americans do not want the bill that is in congress now period. Why is it your party turned a deaf ear to the people?

Posted by: KAP at March 8, 2010 11:12 PM
Comment #296944

My last gasp for air, before I drown in this s**t. The bills currently being considered are as much Republican than Democrat. It’s as if you are blind to what’s really going on in the land. You are right about polls, and you are right about the current situation, but you fail to see what got us to this point.

Last time out for this…I’m just tired…and, that’s why you will eventually get your way…but, at what cost:

There can be NO economic recovery…

There can be NO serious gains in employment…

There can be NO decent health care reform…

unless we can get one, even one not so good out of Congress and on the President’s desk. We cannot afford to throw this out and start over if we intend to gain headway in the economy or employment. We have to depend on making changes as needed, after we get one signed.

This nation is in dire straights. THERE CAN BE NO ECONOMIC RECOVERY WITHOUT HEALTH CARE REFORM! They are tied together with an unbreakable binding. The economy will not sustain 17 plus percent GDP (and rising at an astounding rate) eaten up by health care, and recover at the same time…period.

Nothing is as pitiful as one with sight who cannot see.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 9, 2010 7:57 AM
Comment #296947

Dude your going to need more than HC reform. You sound like your going to blow a gasket. CHILL.

Posted by: KAP at March 9, 2010 10:05 AM
Comment #296948

Typical conservative response…do nothing, impede progress, wait and see…blah, blah, blah.

Typical progressive initiative…start with HC reform, everything else can follow. Start anywhere else, no improvement will follow.

I’m chilling, as of now.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 9, 2010 12:07 PM
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