Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Earth to Harry Reid: Change. Course. NOW!

Yeah... Massachusetts just turned a little redder tonight. Ted Kennedy is rolling in his grave. Democrats blew it... AGAIN! All of a sudden, "hope" and "change" are getting lost in tea bags.

I'm sure Rahm Emmanuel and all the other lying, cheating, corporatist hacks that have turned President Obama's mandate into trash will try to make this teaching moment into a "let's strengthen the Blue Dog hand to make ourselves look more like Republicans!" moment, but that's absolutely WRONG.

Former Nevada Netroots Maven (and still one of my fave progressive bloggers) Taylor Marsh explained this perfectly over the weekend:

Obama and the Democrats are trying to cram through a health care bill that many feel will come back to haunt us all. Like JoeBeets, many other Democrats are against this action, but we’re being asked to hold our nose and support what’s going on, as if health care is the only problem with the current leadership. It isn’t.

There will always be a group of Democrats who will chide people who have had enough of Democratic promises on the altar of selling out, saying that more time is required, Republicans are worse. What these people ignore is that if you never say enough is enough it’s very unlikely you’ll ever get real change, because politicians only take you seriously when you make them hurt.

The “they have nowhere else to go” theory of Democratic Party allegiance is wrong on multiple levels. Starting with the reality that if people can’t tell Democratic politicians and their policies from what’s coming from the right, as Democrats sell out women’s civil rights, while ignoring equality for gays and lesbians, including when these people are willing to die for their country, then it makes little difference who’s in office anymore. Especially when Democrats are as cozy with Wall Street as Republicans.

To be taken seriously you have to play rough. [...] But I wouldn’t count on ["nose holding"] working beyond 2010.

And she's making some more good points now. And hey, doesn't Taylor make more sense than these idiots?

Oh yes, and props to what Digby says.

Ok. Eight or nine months ago the villagers were all saying that the Republicans were eating at each other and that it wasn't very smart. And the Republicans told them to go to hell, Fox News started the tea party movement and the right wing media in general launched what seemed like a lunatic campaign to demonize Barack Obama as a socialist. All that seems to be working pretty well for them at the moment, so [Politico hack Mike] Allen's admonishment doesn't make a lot of sense.

In fact, the only lesson to be learned is to not listen to anything the village media says. Ever. The Republicans learned that a long time ago. The Democrats need to learn it too.

If I could have a word with Harry Reid right now, I'd say this. Tomorrow is another day. There's no reason to worry about the early and faulty political obituaries now... If Democrats shape up NOW, stop giving into DLC/Blue Dog/corporatist bullshit, stop coddling Wall Street fat cats, and start working for we the people ASAP!

Get the damned health care bill done, then stop talking about any more corporate bailouts and start spending that TARP money on job creation. Stop bribing ConservaDems to vote for craptastic HMO/PhRMA bailouts and coal/oil/nuke/fossil fuel giveaways, and start reasserting majority rule to get real progress made on issues like health care and climate change that people still care about. And finally, just shut out whatever White House fools that have ruined President Obama's "political capital" and pay attention to Peter Daou.

The case by progressives that Democrats are undermining themselves with faux-bipartisanship and tepid policies gets much closer to the heart of the problem. I've written a number of posts arguing that it's all a matter of values and ethics. In essence: when you fail to govern based on a morally sound, well-articulated, solidly-grounded set of ideals, you look weak. All the legislative wins in the world won't change that. People gravitate to people who exude moral authority. The vast majority of voters lack the detailed policy knowledge that would enable them to make an accurate assessment of policy differences, but they do have a visceral sense of when a candidate or an elected official believes in something and fights for it. It's why campaigns are laden with moral arguments; politicians ask to be elected because they'll "do the right thing." The right thing in the current administration's case was to be the anti-Bush, nothing more, nothing less. The ethical antidote to a radical administration. It was both politically smart and morally right. And it worked wonders for Democrats as the entire subtext of the 2008 campaign. [...]

Progressive bloggers have been jumping up and down, yelling at their Democratic leaders that the path of compromise and pragmatism only goes so far. The limit is when you start compromising away your core values.

I sincerely hope that's the lesson learned today.

Will someone please forward this to Harry Reid and cc this to Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and whoever replaces that dumbass Tim Kaine at the DNC (please, fire him!)?

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