Wednesday, July 16, 2008

There Are Democrats And Then There Are Democrats... Take Bruce Lunsford For Example


Not all Udalls are equal

Lately I've has a lot of calls from friends of Bruce Lunsford. Some are Democratic Party insiders and some are genuine Kentucky grassroots activists. Generally they go like this: "Yeah, yeah, Lunsford is a nightmare and will vote like a Republican half the time, but the idea of getting rid of Mitch McConnell overshadows any other consideration. And, after all, McConnell votes like a Republican 100% of the time; half the time Lunsford may be with us."

My heart goes out to Kentucky activists who can almost smell McConnell's defeat. I want to smell McConnell's rotting political corpse as well. But Lunsford? First off, "half the time" is very arbitrary. Maybe Lunsford will vote with the Democrats 40% of the time or 60% of the time or, like Tim Johnson (D-SD) 39.57% of the time when it really counts. But, let's assume that Lunsford votes just like arch-conservative Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska, an overly generous supposition based on what Lunsford has been all about politically. That means he'll vote with Democrats on most housekeeping and non-controversial bills and with the Republicans on many of the really keys issues that matter most to working families and people concerned about civil liberties and the future of our nation. Better than Mitch McConnell? Unquestionably. But there's more to it than that.

McConnell doesn't subvert progressive values and principles from within the Democratic Party and move it inexorably rightward. Ben Nelson does. Zell Miller and Lieberman used to. Mary Landrieu, Mark Pryor, Tim Johnson, Evan Bayh, Blanche Lincoln, Tom Carper, Ken Salazar, Max Baucus can usually be counted on to shill for Big Business interests and pull the Democratic caucus rightward away from positions that are family-friendly. That's exactly what Lunsford will do doing.

This morning's CongressDaily has a story by Darren Goode called "Centrists Might Be Moving Party Leaders." Goode buys into the Beltway definitions of "centrists" and fails to see that what the reactionaries he's writing about are actually just pulling Democrats further away from populist and progressive stands. Otherwise, it's a good story-- except that he stains to prove-- with no evidence whatsoever-- that Republican "moderates" (mainstream conservatives) are also moving GOP extremists towards the center. They're not.
House and Senate coalitions of centrists that were formed to work on compromise plans on gas prices were built on growing frustration among the rank and file-- and voters-- over political gamesmanship employed by party leaders.

This might be leading to more access for these members to party leaders in the debate. House Speaker Pelosi met Tuesday with a group of oil-patch Democrats who recently voted against her "use-it-or-lose-it" plan targeting a lack of production on existing federal areas open for oil and gas production.

She met later in the day with a partially overlapping batch of Blue Dog Coalition members on how they could support a revamped use-it-or-lose-it package heading to the floor Thursday.

"I've seen a shift in leadership," said Texas Rep. Gene Green, who heads an informal batch of oil-patch Democrats and was among those who met with Pelosi Tuesday. "And I'd like to see even more of a shift."

So what is Goode extolling? That a bunch of bought off Democrats whose careers are financed by Big Oil can force Pelosi to bend to the will of Republican grandees? The use-it-or-lose-it bill, sponsored by Natural Resources Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV) was defeated when virtually all Republicans were joined by the treacherous, bribed Blue Dogs.

I can certainly understand local voters casting their ballots against the worst servants of the Military Industrial Complex and against the authors of so much of the economic misfortune that has befallen our country. But, remember, it isn't just Republicans who fall into those categories. The attack on Iraq was a bipartisan affair-- even if a majority of House Democrats-- voted against it (while a majority of Senate Democrats voted for it). Democrats control both houses of Congress and the war rages on. Why? Because there are enough Democrats from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- the DLC and the Blue Dogs basically-- who consistently vote with the GOP on substantive matters. Bush's contemptible and neo-fascist FISA bill-- giving him the right to spy on American citizens-- read our e-mails, listen to our calls-- without any kind of supervision or court order, would never have been given any serious consideration, let alone passed into law, without the active connivance of Democratic leaders who have been paid off-- gigantically-- by the Telecom industry. Of course the main target of the telecoms giants' bribes was John McCain ($365,955) but, not counting presidential candidates, the biggest telecom bribe takers were Senator jay Rockefeller (D-WV- $51,500), who led the battle in the Senate for retroactive immunity, and Congressman Rahm Emanuel ($49,950), who was able to bully enough Democrats-- reminiscent of his actions during the NAFTA debate-- to vote with the Republicans to pass the single worst piece of legislation to come out of this disgraceful Congress. Do we want more of this kind of "bipartisanship?" Or do we want brave and courageous independent-minded leaders who will stand up for American values and ideals-- men and women like Russ Feingold, Chris Dodd, Carol Shea-Porter, Tom Udall, Tom Allen...?

If you have all the money in the world to donate to candidates, I guess it makes sense to donate to reactionaries like Lunsford with the rationale that he's better than McConnell. But that would be premised on having maxed out to real Democrats first-- and their are hundreds of them. Or let's put it another way. The Udall cousins are both in the House and each is running against an extreme right wing lunatic for the Senate, Tom Udall in New Mexico and Mark Udall in Colorado. I want to see both the crazy neo-fascist Republicans lose. But Tom voted against FISA and has taken up the cause of defending constitutional government. Mark voted with the Republicans and has taken up the cause of abandoning principles to get elected. Who you think deserves support more?

Labels: , , , , , ,


At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely. Don't waste money on bad candidates. There are many deserving ones out there.

But how to act in the voting booth, when faced with the choice between a republican and a dino? I say vote third party. Or write in someone like Kucinich. Anything to keep from wasting your vote on yet another corporate whore.

As a real alternative, consider the Greens:


Post a Comment

<< Home