Wednesday, May 25, 2011


This is a turning point, the pushback we've all been waiting for against the overreach and extremism of the Republican/Tea Party, whose hubris in interpreting control of one of three branches of government as license to thrust radical right wing policies on the American people was finally, at long last, since the mid-term elections of 2010, chastened by the voice of the people in the deepest of deep purple Republican districts, New York's 26th. The election of Kathy Hogul, Democrat, by a solid plurality of five percentage points in a Republican district that had not gone Democratic in more than a century has sent an unmistakable message to the arrogant Tea Party Napoleons and extremists, within and without the House and Senate, that the American people reject the shredding of our traditional social safety net erected on the pillars of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — the right wing "social engineering" that, at its core, is alien to the values of our Founding Fathers and deeply un-American.

The message from the voters of NY-26 was loud and clear: Hands off our Medicare. And to underscore this message, Michael Moore forcefully reminded Democrats that Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid are "off the table." The American people have always been there, by overwhelming numbers in every poll, upwards of 80 percent who say NO to cuts in these vastly popular programs. It is the Democratic Party that strayed from its traditional message, that has been playing catch-up to the people. Somehow Democrats had lost their voice in Washington, drowned out by the misplaced priorities of the narrative drivers in the Beltway Media.

No more excuses. The Democratic Party must step up to the plate and proudly lead the way on an issue that it owns by birthright, commitment, and authorship. Democrats should be singing to the heavens and the earth, into the winds of change, that we are the party and the guardians of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Do not be fooled by the forked tongue speech of Republicans, who have always hated these government programs and now aim to destroy them. The Democratic Party will always stand in opposition to these craven, anti-American schemes, because protecting the three pillars of our social safety net is our solemn compact with the American people — one that gave witness to succeeding generations lifted from poverty, sheltered from illness, and retiring in dignity. And also, because it's in our blood, in our DNA, in the grand tradition of the greatest political party on the face of the earth for whom the Common Good & General Welfare aren't merely words written in parchment. They are enshrined in our Constitution. They are the living, breathing embodiment of everything the Democratic Party stands for.

No more excuses. No more backing down to the forces of reaction and extremism. It's time to stand up and be counted as proud Democrats, and to remember why we became Democrats in the first place. Kathy Hogul said in her victory speech last night that public service is an honor and a privilege; that she will never forget the people she represents, and will not, ever, balance any budget "on the backs of our seniors."

Kathy Hogul is an authentic Democrat. Harry Truman would have been proud.

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