Do The Democrats Even Deserve A Filibuster-Proof Majority?
I hope Jim Martin beats Saxby Chambliss. I hope he beats him by a lot. Chambliss is one of the worst members on the Senate, both in terms of his unbelievably extremist voting record and in terms of his utter disregard for even the vaguest sense of personal ethics. Lately he's taken to defending his putrid ad against Max Cleland, which even John McCain denounced as reprehensible and is now running a similar a similar smear tactic against Jim Martin. As much as his ad campaigns, Chambliss himself is reprehensible. And, like I said above, I hope Martin defeats him.
So why no fundraising campaign here? Jim Martin actually meets the criteria we use at Blue America. He's not just better than Chambliss-- after all, it would be hard for anyone not to be better than that venal slug-- Jim Martin's vision for America is pretty progressive and very much geared towards serving the needs of the working families ignored over the past 8 and 6 years, respectively by George Bush and Saxby Chambliss. But we're just going to let President-elect Obama and the Senate Democratic caucus win this one on their own. Let them put up the money and go for that 60-vote filibuster-proof majority if they really want it. (I have my doubts that they do, since it would leave them with no excuses if they fail to deliver on their campaign promises and on the expectations of the voters.)
And whether they really want it or not, do they even deserve it? The Senate Democratic caucus-- which includes reactionary scumbags like Evan Bayh, Mary Landrieu, Mark Pryor, and Ben Nelson-- is sickening, cowardly and next-to-worthless. Patrick Leahy is the ONLY member of the caucus with the balls to publicly state that the treacherous Joe Lieberman doesn't deserve to be given the chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee. "I’m one who does not feel someone should be rewarded with a major chairmanship after what he did." (Listen.) Alas, he's the only one so far. At least the vote won't be unanimous. Too bad the voters of Connecticut don't get a say. In a new poll that came out this morning, most Connecticut voters express so much dissatisfaction with Lieberman that it's next to impossible to see him ever winning an election there again. If the voters there could re-do the 2006 election today 59% would vote for Ned Lamont and only 34% would vote for Lieberman. And if loses his chairmanship and then jumps to the GOP only 31% of Connecticut voters say they would favor his re-election.
So what to do? Well, it's clear to me that the Democratic caucus should start acting with some degree of self-respect and, at the minimum, take away his chair. If they do, we'll do whatever we can to help get Jim Martin elected. Meanwhile, I want to suggest that the ones siding with the caucus' reactionaries watch Rachel Maddow's explanation and pay attention to her suggestions. She's got it right-- much more so than hack political reporter Ron Brownstein, who is urging the Democrats to step on the people who elected them and to instead govern like less extreme Republicans.
It looks like we were correct a few days ago when we predicted that a small handful of progressive Democrats would stand up against the inherent conservative inertia that makes the world's most exclusive club nearly worthless. Bernie Sanders just joined Patrick Leahy in opposing Lieberman's demand that he get the Homeland Security chair to prevent him from becoming (officially) a Republican. Most of the cowards, led by reactionary Evan Bayh, are wimpering that an "apology" is enough for them. Bernie:
"To reward Senator Lieberman with a major committee chairmanship would be a slap in the face of millions of Americans who worked tirelessly for Barack Obama and who want to see real change in our country.
"Appointing someone to a major post who led the opposition to everything we are fighting for is not 'change we can believe in.' I very much hope that Senator Lieberman stays in the Democratic caucus and is successful in regaining the confidence of those whom he has disappointed. This is not a time, however, in which he should be rewarded with a major committee chairmanship."