Sunday, August 05, 2007

MORE AND BETTER DEMOCRATS

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Barry Welsh, one of the good ones-- and worth 3 Blue Dogs easy

Indiana was 3 for 3-- 3 freshmen Democrats elected, 3 freshmen Democrats who vote just the way the Republicans they replaced would have voted on issue after issue after issue. Last year Rahm Emanuel Insiders shoved 3 right of center marginal Democrats down Indiana's throat: Baron Hill, Joe Donnelly and Brad Ellsworth. Blue America made no endorsements in these races. Gretchen Clearwater, our candidate to oppose far right reactionary Mike Sodrel, was beaten in the Democratic primary by a less far right reactionary, ex- and future congressman Baron Hill. Hill has turned out to be as awful as we expected, voting with Bush at nearly every opportunity, yesterday's FISA authorization being just the latest assault on Democratic (and American) values and ideals.

His two clones, Brad Ellsworth and Joe Donnelly, have been exactly as horrible, voting against the Democrats on almost every issue that separates Democrats from Republicans, progressives from reactionaries. In 2008 there is a race in Indiana shaping up that will be very different from the lesser of two evils type races in most Indiana districts. Progressive, values-oriented minister Barry Welsh is challenging right-wing extremist loon Mike Pence again. This time, though, Barry, could actually beat him. And I'd take one Barry Welsh for a trio of traitors like Hill, Ellsworth and Donnelly any day of the week. Barry will be the live Blue America guest at Firedoglake on Saturday, September 1. (I'll remind you closer to the day.)

All across the country there are true blue Democratic progressives challenging the reactionary establishment. In some cases, it is a real Democrat like Donna Edwards going up against a corrupt  Establishment thug like Al Wynn, or a proven progressive incumbent like Memphis' Steve Cohen being challenged by the reactionary Harold Ford Machine. Some of our best Blue America candidates, from Angie Paccione, John Laesch and Vic Wulsin to Darcy Burner are being challenged by opportunistic and establishment Democrats in primaries. Yesterday 41 Democrats abandoned America to vote for Bush-Cheney fascism. Read John Laesch's take on the FISA debacle if you want to understand the difference between the real deal and some quasi-Republican.
If someone were to define me as a political candidate, the best label might be "economic populist and progressive." My primary opponent chose to call himself a Blue Dog Dem. In the Daily Herald:

Foster said he’d be a blue dog Democrat, a coalition of moderate and conservative mostly Southern lawmakers. Rep. Melissa Bean of Barrington is one of them.

"There’s not much they’re pushing for I don’t agree with," Foster said.


It seems to me that there is only one common thread that links blue dogs-– they cave to fear and conversely, there is only one common thread that links progressives-– they’ve got the stones to stand up for what is right.

A Blue Dog will cave and vote to give Bush unchecked war powers in Iraq and the authority to spy on Americans.

The Progressive Caucus voted against the "blank check," standing up to Bush and saying, "no." Many progressives voted against the Patriot Act and a growing majority support de-funding the Iraq occupation.

A Blue Dog will hem and haw over an uncomfortable issue like immigration or in my opponent’s case, just endorse Newt Gingrich’s plan for a national ID card for immigrant workers.

I on the other hand have the guts to tell the "right" that we have a challenging task ahead and you may not agree with my position, but comprehensive immigration is the only reasonable approach to handling this challenging issue. I also delve into a conversation about NAFTA because unfair trade agreements have left Mexico with 28% unemployment. That is a lot of people looking for work north of the border and at the end of the day it is all about big businesses looking for cheap labor.

The Inside the Beltway Democrats, don't care if they wind up with a Blue Dog who votes for the toxic Republican agenda-- just as long as they vote to organize Congress with the Democrats in charge. For ideals and principles and for good government, for values, you have to seek out the John Laeschs, Barry Welshs, Donna Edwardses. Those are the real Democrats, not these turds.

A couple of weeks ago, Blue America followers had a chance to meet Darcy Burner, one of our brightest and most passionate candidates. She's challenging Bush rubber stamp Dave Reichert in Washington's 8th CD, just east of Seattle. But reactionary quasi-Democrats are running an ex-Republican, Rodney Tom, who like Foster, would have loved to have been the 44th Democrat to kiss Bush's ass on FISA. Today over at FDL, Pach has a great video clip-- from where the title of this post comes-- that shows how Darcy answers reactionary Democrats who vote with Republicans. I highly recommend you hit this link and take a look at what Darcy and Pac have to say. And right underneath it is a post by Phoenix Woman worth reading too.


UPDATE-- AN ANTIDOTE TO FUTURE FISA SELLOUTS: DEFEAT MARY LANDRIEU

The Democrats' most vulnerable incumbent is reactionary Mary Landrieu (LA) who has worked very hard to earn the contempt of progressives for years. The Republicans are likely to go after her with all their might. Let them. Progressives should let her go down to defeat, the same way we let the treacherous DLC congressman Harold Ford defeat himself in Tennessee last year. Last year we won a majority in the Senate without Ford and we're better off without Ford. We'd be better off without Landrieu as well. She isn't a Democrat except on the day she votes on organizing the Senate. There is no way to teach Democrats to vote in the interests of the grassroots unless the grassroots stand up and let them know there is a price to pay for perfidy.

Today's Washington Post published an editorial worth reading: Warrantless Surrender-- Congress Is Stampeded Into Another Compromise of Americans' Rights. "The Democratic-led Congress, more concerned with protecting its political backside than with safeguarding the privacy of American citizens, left town early yesterday after caving in to administration demands that it allow warrantless surveillance of the phone calls and e-mails of American citizens, with scant judicial supervision and no reporting to Congress about how many communications are being intercepted. To call this legislation ill-considered is to give it too much credit: It was scarcely considered at all. Instead, it was strong-armed through both chambers by an administration that seized the opportunity to write its warrantless wiretapping program into law-- or, more precisely, to write it out from under any real legal restrictions."

FDL is more brutal in exposing the paucity of credible leadership among the Democrats. "We are a nation represented by sheep."

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13 Comments:

At 3:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice. More and better Democrats. I clicked through and looked at the Darcy Burner video - always so nice to see a politician simply and clearly speaking, oh, the truth. Also have to say I loved the title of that post: "Darcy Burner panders to the Constitution" Go Darcy!

Lisa Bennett (Downtowner)
Laesch for Congress
lisa@john08.com

 
At 5:15 PM, Blogger Ebon Krieg said...

Finally, someone who gets it. Reformation is the only alternative next to insurrection. I think everyone should reread the preamble and the bill of rights just to refresh your memories. One is the reason we put up with government and the other protects us from government abuse. They have both been horribly disfigured in the past 30 plus years by the crime syndicate formerly known as republican and triangulating sidewinders known as democrats. 2008 is it.

 
At 6:13 PM, Anonymous rootless2 said...

Pelosi is a long-time member of the progressive caucus. Any idea why she rolled?

 
At 6:14 PM, Blogger danps said...

A handy guide to those who voted "yes" and their home pages:

http://pruningshears.squarespace.com/pruning-shears/2007/8/5/house-fisa-yes-votes.html

 
At 9:53 PM, Blogger Matthew said...

Or why did Senator Webb, who was apparently a favorite of the "Netroots?" How can we elect "more and better" Democrats until we get rid of hacks like Rahm Emmanuel? I'd like to hear more ideas about flushing the hacks out of the party machinery than electing more and better Democrats. If the institutions, the support staff and Democratic power structure are corrupt and inept, does the rest even matter?

 
At 12:00 AM, Blogger Maeven said...

This bill should have been stopped in the Senate.

Of the Democrats in the Senate who voted for the FISA bill [Evan Bayh (Indiana); Tom Carper (Delaware); Bob Casey (Pennsylvania); Kent Conrad (North Dakota); Dianne Feinstein (California); Daniel Inouye (Hawai‘i); Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota); Mary Landrieu (Louisiana); Blanche Lincoln (Arkansas); Claire McCaskill (Missouri); Barbara Mikulski (Maryland); Bill Nelson (Florida); Ben Nelson (Nebraska); Mark Pryor (Arkansas); Ken Salazar (Colorado); Jim Webb (Virginia)], only these three are up for reelection in 2008: Tom Carper, Mary Landrieu, Mark Pryor.

They had no reason to fear that a vote in 2007 would come back to haunt them in 2011 (when Blanche Lincoln, Ken Salazar, Barbara Mikulski, Daniel Inouye are up for re-election), and 2013 (when Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson, Claire McCaskill, Bob Casey, Dianne Feinstein, Kent Conrad, Amy Klobuchar and Jim Webb are up for reelection). Unless there actually is a terrorist attack in the next 30 days, as Bush and the Republicans are threatening, in which case they'd have years to spin their vote. Or perhaps uncover how Bush was so expert in predicting when a terrorist attack would take place, but so inept about preventing it.

It is more likely that Bush's rush (and pressure and scare tactics) to extend his powers under FISA has to do with this case, scheduled to be heard while Congress is on recess, which could possibly shut down any Congressionally-unauthorized secret, warrantless surveillance program. If true, then double pox on Nancy Pelosi's House for not anticipating Bush at every turn.

 
At 5:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has no one noticed that the Democratic leadership SUPPORTED the FISA changes? The Congress could be 100% Democrats, and that bill still would have passed. All the leadership had to do was not allow the bill to come to the floor - problem solved. Wasn't this the supposed advantage of getting Democrats in power? That only Democratic bills would come to the floor?

Face facts - the Democrats are rotten at the heart. Half of them are authoritarian conservatives, same as the Republicans. The other half are just weaklings who don't have any beliefs at all. There's no way you're going to 'reform' that mess into anything useful. If you're trying to make bread, and you mix up a batch that is 75% human excrement, no amount of mixing and adding more dough to that batch is going to make good bread.

Liberals need to start their own party. The United States has gone through about a dozen political parties in its past; the Democrats need to be another one consigned to the dustheap of history.

 
At 12:09 PM, Anonymous Phoenix Woman said...

Anonymous: So Russ Feingold supported this? I don't think so?

By the way, for the minority report on this, check out http://donkeywithatrunk.blogspot.com/2007/08/liberalism-thy-name-is-fickle.html
Go over there and tell him why he's wrong. But be prepared to argue your case!

 
At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matthew: That's why what Dean's doing at the DNC is a big deal. He's trying to grow these sorts of Democrats from the roots up. Once they start working their way up the party structure, their influence will be felt.

Another thing we can do is to back http://www.publicampaign.org, and work to reduce the role of money in politics so people aren't dependent on selling out to Big Money to win elections.

 
At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a question. Did the so-called FISA reform act have to follow the same Senate rules as other non-appropriations bills -- i.e., be subject to rules that allow an individual senator to put a "hold" on it? If so, it would have only taken one senator to stop this outrage in its tracks and buy a month to hold hearings and fully consider the bill after the recess. Moreover, I think such a senator could have effectively defended his "obstructionist" action by framing it as a necessary "timeout" to properly consider legislation that impinges on the constitution, the bill of rights and a number of federal statutes. So why didn't even one such senator stand up? Hello, Mr. Feingold? Mr Dodd? Mr Obama? Anyone?

 
At 3:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been wondering why we weren't actively seeking out primary challengers to DINO's; are our resources stretched so thin that we can't be hunting for legitimate Dems to replace the capitulators?

 
At 5:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They don't seek primary challenges because they don't want challengers. You all seem to be under the impression that they didn't REALLY want this bill to pass. They clearly did. They control both houses, and never had to allow the whitehouse legislation to be voted on. If they allowed it to be voted on, they wanted it to pass.

You all have to stop being useful idiots who like to pretend that the Democrats are as corrupt and undemocratic as the Republicans. But they are.

 
At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it's clear that none of the Democrats in the Senate had the courage of their convictions. Well, to be fair, some of them likely didn't know how to do a secret hold -- but they *should have*.

I will give the rank-and-file in the House -- the ones who voted for the Constitution and against fascism -- a break, because rank-and-file House members have very little power.

However, Pelosi and Slaughter have failed miserably and must go.

 

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