Monday, August 01, 2011

Raúl Grijalva Disputes Washington's Anti-Family Conservative Consensus


Goal Thermometer

I knew Raúl would come out fast against the Conservative Consensus meme that was all over Talking Heads TV yesterday and has been all over the Twitter Machine since rumors started breaking last night. He came out fast and unambiguous:
“This deal trades peoples’ livelihoods for the votes of a few unappeasable right-wing radicals, and I will not support it. Progressives have been organizing for months to oppose any scheme that cuts Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security, and it now seems clear that even these bedrock pillars of the American success story are on the chopping block. Even if this deal were not as bad as it is, this would be enough for me to fight against its passage.

This deal does not even attempt to strike a balance between more cuts for the working people of America and a fairer contribution from millionaires and corporations. The very wealthy will continue to receive taxpayer handouts, and corporations will keep their expensive federal giveaways. Meanwhile, millions of families unfairly lose more in this deal than they have already lost. I will not be a part of it.

Republicans have succeeded in imposing their vision of a country without real economic hope. Their message has no public appeal, and Democrats have had every opportunity to stand firm in the face of their irrational demands. Progressives have been rallying support for the successful government programs that have meant health and economic security to generations of our people. Today we, and everyone we have worked to speak for and fight for, were thrown under the bus. We have made our bottom line clear for months: a final deal must strike a balance between cuts and revenue, and must not put all the burden on the working people of this country. This deal fails those tests and many more.

The Democratic Party, no less than the Republican Party, is at a very serious crossroads at this moment. For decades Democrats have stood for a capable, meaningful government-- a government that works for the people, not just the powerful, and that represents everyone fairly and equally. This deal weakens the Democratic Party as badly as it weakens the country. We have given much and received nothing in return. The lesson today is that Republicans can hold their breath long enough to get what they want. While I believe the country will not reward them for this in the long run, the damage has already been done.

A clean debt ceiling vote was the obvious way out of this, and many House Democrats have been saying so. Had that vote failed, the president should have exercised his Fourteenth Amendment responsibilities and ended this manufactured crisis.

This deal is a cure as bad as the disease. I reject it, and the American people reject it. The only thing left to do now is repair the damage as soon as possible.”

Is it any wonder working families in southern Arizona cherish this guy? It's also no wonder that the far right has targeted him for defeat next year-- the same way the targeted Grayson last year. Let's help him make sure he can defend himself from the attacks that are coming. He has his own Blue America Act Blue page.

While he was in Congress, Alan Grayson worked closely with Raúl on the Congressional Progressive Caucus. A few minutes after Raúl's statement yesterday, Alan told me he agrees with most of it. "He’s right, except when he says that the deal is “a cure as bad as the disease.” This “deal” cures no disease. In fact, it exacerbates and accelerates the disease. That disease is the collapse of opportunity and job security for the middle class in America. Teddy Roosevelt gave us the Square Deal. FDR gave us the New Deal. Truman gave us the Fair Deal. This is the Raw Deal."

Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus had as strong an aversion to the "compromise" as did Grijalva and Grayson. He recognized it immediately as a shady bill and appropriately enough termed it "a sugar-coated Satan sandwich.” By the end of the day Bernie Sanders explained why he would be voting NO:
"The Republicans have been absolutely determined to make certain that the rich and large corporations not contribute one penny for deficit reduction, and that all of the sacrifice comes from the middle class and working families in terms of cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, LIHEAP, community health centers, education, Head Start, nutrition, MILC, affordable housing and many other vitally important programs.

"I cannot support legislation like the Reid proposal which balances the budget on the backs of struggling Americans while not requiring one penny of sacrifice from the wealthiest people in our country. That is not only grotesquely immoral, it is bad economic policy."

All the Democratic candidates I've spoken to are against the deal, even after Obama's pathetic TV speech last night. Alan Grayson's neighbor in central Florida, Nick Ruiz, came right to the point: "I couldn't agree with Rep. Grijalva more-- the contrast between what BHO and the party brass are pitching in this debt fiasco-- and that which people like myself, or Raul Grijalva would do is epic. We need to elect more progressive Democrats to Congress; it is the only way to undo their destructive policy. The American people must understand that nothing is more important for 2012."

New Mexico state Senator Eric Griego said pretty much what everyone else is telling me: "I stand with Democrats and ordinary Americans nationwide in expressing disappointment with the emerging deal to raise the national debt ceiling, which could allow Republicans to weaken Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to continue to pay for tax cuts for millionaires, Big Oil and other corporate special interests. That is why on Friday I called on the President to invoke the 14th Amendment to use executive order in raising the national debt ceiling immediately. Our priority should be to create jobs and reduce unemployment because people are hurting and they want to work."

Boehner, on the other hand, was celebrating the right-wing victory with his caucus. "Nothing in this framework violates our principles. We got 98 percent of what we aked for... Listen, this isn’t the greatest deal in the world. But it shows how much we’ve changed the terms of the debate in this town... It’s all spending cuts." And from New York Times economics writer Catherine Rampell, an epitaph for Barack Obama's political career:


Feingold, an intrepid defender of the Constitution when he was in the Senate, was always a bit of a "moderate" on economic issues, sort of like Obama. But they sure have parted ways on the Satan Sandwich. Feingold's statement is just devastating to Obama's pathetic defense of his connivance with the far right against the American people:
"The debt ceiling deal should remove any doubt of the power corporate interests have over our government. That deal, hammered out by the president and Republican Congressional leaders, places the burden of reducing our long-term budget problems on average Americans, while the wealthiest individuals and corporations are given a free pass. Americans are willing to bear their share of the burden of addressing our nation’s long-term budget problems, but those sacrifices should be
shared by all."


The sugar-coated Satan Sandwich passed 269-161, the Democrats split 95-95. 174 Republicans voted for it and 66 voted against it. These are the 95 Democrats who voted against it:

Gary Ackerman (D-NY)
Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Xaviera Becerra (D-CA)
Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
Leonard Boswell (Blue Dog-IA)
Bruce Braley (D-IA)
Corrine Brown (D-FL)
G.K. Butterfield (D-NC)
Mike Capuano (D-MA)
Dennis Cardoza (Blue Dog-CA)
Andre Carson (D-IN)
Judy Chu (D-CA)
Hansen Clarke (D-MI)
Yvette Clarke (D-NY)
Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)
Steve Cohen (D-TN)
John Conyers (D-MI)
Joseph Crowley (D-NY)
Elijah Cummings (D-MD)
Peter DeFazio (D-OR)
Diana DeGette (D-CO)
Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
Mike Doyle (D-PA)
Donna Edwards (D-MD)
Keith Ellison (D-MN)
Eliot Engel (D-NY)
Sam Farr (D-CA)
Bob Filner (D-CA)
Barney Frank (D-MA)
Marcia Fudge (D-OH)
Charlie Gonzalez (D-TX)
Al Green (D-TX)
Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
Janice Hahn (D-CA)
Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
Rush Holt (D-NJ)
Mike Honda (D-CA)
Jesse Jackson (D-IL)
Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)
Larry Kissell (D-NC)
Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)
John Larson (D-CT)
Barbara Lee (D-CA)
John Lewis (D-GA)
Dave Loebsack (D-IA)
Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
Ben Ray Luján (D-NM)
Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
Ed Markey (D-MA)
Doris Matsui (D-CA)
Betty McCollum (D-MN)
Jim McDermott (D-WA)
Jim McGovern (D-MA)
Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC)
Jerry McNerney (D-CA)
Brad Miller (D-NC)
George Miller (D-CA)
Jim Moran (D-VA)
Chris Murphy (D-CT)
Jerry Nadler (D-NY)
Grace Napolitano (D-CA)
Richard Neal (D-MA)
John Olver (D-MA)
Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
Ed Pastor (D-AZ)
Don Payne (D-NJ)
Gary Peters (D-MI)
Chellie Pingree (D-ME)
David Price (D-NC)
Charlie Rangel (D-NY)
Silvestre Reyes (D-TX)
Laura Richardson (D-CA)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
Tim Ryan (D-OH)
Linda Sánchez (D-CA)
John Sarbanes (D-MD)
Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Bobby Scott (D-VA)
José Serrano (D-NY)
Louise Slaughter (D-NY)
Adam Smith (D-WA)
Pete Stark (D-CA)
Betty Sutton (D-OH)
Bennie Thompson (D-MS)
John Tierney (D-MA)
Paul Tonko (D-NY)
Edolphus Towns (D-NY)
Nydia Velázquez (D-NY)
Pete Visclosky (D-IN)
Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Mel Watt (D-NC)
Henry Waxman (D-CA)
Peter Welch (D-VT)
Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)
John Yarmuth (D-KY)

Jerry Nadler expressed what most of them alos believed:
“Defaulting on our debts is not an option.  hat’s why I voted for a clean debt ceiling increase, free from the unnecessary clutter of budgetary or other non-related matters. And that’s why I voted for Senator Reid’s plan this past Saturday, though parts of that plan were excessive and imbalanced. I am also the lead sponsor of a resolution to support the president’s use of Article 2, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution to raise the debt ceiling-- solely as a last resort. But this so-called compromise-- “the Budget Control Act”-- is just the latest blackmail request from extortionist Republicans. 
“This legislation lays out an unbalanced, callous plan that will strangle the middle class and working poor, to say nothing of the elderly and kids. These blackmailers are telling the American people, ‘either you will accept deep cuts to vital programs that support seniors, students, children, women, and the poor, or we will force this nation to default on its debts’-- an unprecedented and reckless move that would lead to skyrocketing interest rates on mortgages, credit cards, student loans, and the like. So, either we stifle our economy and stymie job growth, or we kill the middle class and stymie job growth. 
“Shockingly, while Republicans are holding us all hostage, telling us our country is broke and we have to cut programs that are lifelines to millions of Americans, they are letting the wealthiest among us-- the corporations, millionaires, billionaires, and oil companies-- off scot-free, without doing their fair share.   
“This proposal is exactly the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time. With our economy still struggling and gasping for air, with more and more Americans looking for jobs, we should be promoting job growth and those federal and state programs that put people to work. But, instead of doing the things Americans do best - that is, building things and creating opportunity-- Tea Partiers want to send this country over the cliff. We must say NO.”

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At 6:37 PM, Blogger NicePoliteRepublicans said...

would any of the noble 95 entertain the notion of a primary against the Republican in Chief?

At 7:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howie, what's up with Larry Kissell? I expect to see him with the Blue Dogs, not the Progressive Caucus.
Or maybe he's joined the T Party?
Or maybe he's concerned about re-election?


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