Saturday, January 08, 2011



Yesterday we took a quick look at a little noticed bill the House passed overwhelmingly. Every Republican and all but 13 Democrats voted for H.R.22. Here's a tweet from a nincompoop from Riverside County, Ken Calvert celebrating the passage:

Well, you'd expect someone like Calvert to be perfectly content to be able to offer less accountability and fewer services to his constituents. He's a Republican; he hates people. But almost every Democrat voted for it too and not just the Heath Shulers and Dan Borens-- real Democrats, from the leadership to nearly the whole Congressional Progressive Caucus. The only NO votes were Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), John Conyers (D-MI), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Bob Filner (D-CA), Mike Honda (D-CA), Jesse Jackson (D-IL), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jim Moran (D-VA), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Edolphus Towns (D-NY), and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA). Even as progressive a champion as Raul Grijalva, just re-elected co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, voted for it, dismissing it as a "symbolic non-issue."

But something about it stuck in my craw. It was their symbolic non-issue. Why should our side validate it? Because he's a fighter and because he has a reputation as an outspoken straight-shooter I called San Diego area Congressman Bob Filner, one of the 13 NO votes, to ask him to explain his thinking on this one. He must have been in a real mood; did he ever let loose! "This is why we're losing elections," he said. "My colleagues are drink the kool-aid... We're operating out of fear." And he was just getting warmed up. What he told me is that he needs to be in touch with his constituents more, not less, to do an adequate job representing them. "We have serious oversight responsibilities," he continued, suggesting the Republicans are more than happy to see them go by the wayside. "If they were serious about cutting into the deficit, they would start thinking about Afghanistan, not these kinds of cuts which in a thousand years won't make a dent on the deficit."

He said so many of his colleagues are afraid of teabaggers that they're making foolish, even craven decisions. I could feel his frustration through the phone and it reminded me of an OpEd I read Thursday in the L.A. Times, 'Tea partyers' should be natural allies of those fighting in Congress for campaign finance reform. It get to the heart of a debate over whether the tea partiers are a legitimate populist movement "focused on citizen participation or an unofficial subsidiary of the Republican Party. If the first characterization is accurate, tea partyers will support campaign reform. After all, if the goal is participation by informed citizens, why not expose the special interests behind political messages?" It's doubtful anyone who saw the power of Fox and the cash flowing from billionaire Tea Party financiers like the Koch Bros. is unsure about the answer to that question. If Democrats don't stand up and fight back, they're going to be rolled over.



At 7:33 PM, Blogger Cirze said...

Again and again.

Nice commentary, but as you know they have no shame about these sell-out votes.


If Democrats don't stand up and fight back, they're going to be rolled over.


Post a Comment

<< Home