Monday, September 21, 2009

DINOS Not goin’ to Disneyland

MEMO to DINOS: Forsake Us at Your Peril. Signed, Big “D” Democrats.

Progressive and liberal Democrats are PO’d. Not with the racist ugliness of the lunatic fringe, or right wing corporate tools spewing vitriol at town hall meetings, or even at Republican obstructionists like Snake-in-the-Grass-ley hissing demagoguery and satanic lies to his base.

(I must have missed this one: Grassley was heard whining pathetically last week that the President said mean things about him … Aww, Chuckie was crying because his BFF Max Baucus decided to go solo on their taxpayer-funded giveaway to the (W)ealth insurance industry; Maxie invoked his chairman’s prerogative, cut his losses, and decided not to play “ranking member” privilege games anymore.)

Progressives are seething at false members of the Democratic Party, a.k.a. Democrats in Name Only (DINOS), whose refusal to embrace the mainstream Democratic compromise of the public option -- despite polls showing solid public support for it -- runs counter to every principle of representative democracy.

Outrage is meaningless without action. Take a look at these ads:

This ad, directed at Senator Baucus, was produced by an uninsured dad. It’s an awesome example of Netroots citizen advocacy at its best:

Tomorrow markup starts on the Baucus bill. It’s such a craven giveaway to the (W)ealth insurance industry, said industry whistleblower Wendell Potter, that even their lobbyists wouldn’t be so brash as to claim its authorship.

Max ‘Hamlet’ Baucus was willingly enticed by Republican obstructionists “Snake” and Enzi into chasing after rainbows of ‘bipartisanship’. It’s just beyond the glen, they said. In the end, Baucus could have saved us all a lot of grief had he released this very same bad bill two months earlier before the August screamers filled the vacuum and corporate opponents geared up. Once he said that listening to President Obama was like listening to a symphony. It would be funnier if not for the fact that millions of Americans depend on his sound judgment on healthcare reform.

“Snake” Chuckie’s outburst presaged the whimpering death throes of the Finance Committee ‘Gang of Six.’ At the end of a long day this is a positive thing, even if the White House seemingly ignored our early entreaties that it would come to this. In the process, they lost control of the message, House and Senate Democrats teetered, and Republicans were emboldened by the basest instincts of their base.

So it’s best not to rely on assumptions that the White House has a grand design us mere mortals cannot divine.

On a positive note, the politics has shifted for the better, though some pundits have yet to catch on. Embracing the Baucus bill, David Brooks of the NYT smugly predicted the public option is “dead” with supporters going through stages of "withdrawal." What he fails to understand is that with the demise of the ‘Gang of Six’ its endangered moderate Republican member, Olympia Snowe, is no longer in a commanding position to determine the outlines of the final bill.

Sure, we’d like her vote, but we can take it or leave it. President Obama admitted (conceded?) over the weekend that he’d like Republican votes but he’s resigned himself to a Democrats-only bill. As such, we need 51, not 60 votes. The 60 votes are required to defeat a filibuster, and woe be it on any Democrat who votes to keep a Republican filibuster alive.

The key Senator on the Finance Committee is not Republican Olympia Snowe; it’s Democrat Jay Rockefeller. During his years in the Senate, the progressive Sen. Rockefeller deferred to Ted Kennedy on healthcare issues. But coming from West Virginia, a poor state with special health needs, Rockefeller is no back bencher. He has always cared deeply about healthcare policy, and most importantly, he’s a fierce advocate of the public option.

It’s significant to note that before President Obama said he may go forward with Democrats only, he had a long one-on-one meeting with Sen. Rockefeller. If Rockefeller isn’t satisfied with the bill that Finance produces he has stated he will vote against it unless it changes in amendment “by vast amounts.”

Where does that leave us? Quite simply with the original Ted Kennedy bill, voted out of Kennedy’s Health Committee, which contains the public option.

This is what it means to have a governing majority.


Lula O said...

I just luv the word spew. . .
We have one of these from Idaho, newbie Walt Minnick who although he ran as a Democrat, has voted with the Republicans I think every single time. Now, he did narrowly beat a real asshat here in my conservative state (as my father, a long time Dem keeps telling me - any Democrat is better than no Democrat) but I don't know if I agree anymore. I voted for him because I wanted something different. Right now, he's just more of the lame old, same old.

Carlos said...

I try, I spew ... :)

I agree with your dad ... narrowly.

If you think of it in terms of the history of the Democratic Party from Wilson through FDR, Truman, Kennedy, (minor luminaries inbetween) to President Obama, he's definitely right.

I can't imagine why anyone would be a Republican (not many are) unless they're filthy rich.