Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Buffett Rule-- Do Democrats Really Care?


Republicans, as Chris Hayes and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse discuss in the MSNBC clip above, had several reasons-- none of them good-- to fly in the face of public opinion and filibuster the Buffett Rule to death on Monday. As Miss McConnell lisped menacingly right after President Obama was elected, the number one job of Republicans would be the make him a one term president. They have done this by betraying the interests of their own constituents, by obstructing every effort the president has made, no matter how conservative those efforts-- and almost everything Obama has tried since being elected has been based on traditional mainstream Republican policies-- to rescue the American economy from the morass created by Bush and the Republicans in Congress... like Miss McConnell. But forget these foul, treasonous Republicans for a moment. There was one Democrat who crossed the aisle to vote with them Monday afternoon.

You may remember the hapless idiot from Arkansas who had a shocking and disgraceful cameo in Bill Maher's film Religulous. No, not Blanche Lincoln-- another senatorial jerk cut from the exact same WalMart cloth though: Mark Pryor, who inherited his (much more worthy) father's Senate seat. As he giggled, on camera, for all the world to hear, "You don't have to pass an IQ test to be in the Senate." Apparently not-- and certainly not from Arkansas. Tom Coburn (R-OK) may be one of the Senate's most closed-minded morons but in his just released book, The Debt Bomb he was certainly correct when he said that the Senate is “heavily sedated” and that "Congress today is a stagnant pond that needs to be drained and refilled with a steady stream of new public servants." He said 90% should be fired. And I doubt there is anyone in the Senate or anyone who observes the Senate who would exclude Mark Pryor.

Apparently Pryor didn't learn any lessons when Arkansas Democrats abandoned Blanche Lincoln last cycle for the same kind of perfidy he regularly engages in. Right after the vote, Guy Cecil of the DSCC sent out a fundraising letter excoriating the Republicans for filibustering the Buffett Rule. Maybe he should have included a paragraph about how no contributions would be used to save Mark Pryor's worthless neck. But that would have been a lie because a huge part of the DSCC budget will be used for exactly that purpose. So... contribute to the DSCC to punish Republicans who voted against the Buffett Rule so they can save the seta of a right-wing Democrat who voted against the Buffett Rule. I might add that, according to ProgressivePunch, in the 2011-12 session, Pryor has voted with the GOP about a third of the time on crucial roll calls, like the one Monday-- worse than Lieberman. The only Democrats who have voted more frequently with Miss McConnell are Claire McCaskill, Joe Manchin and, of course, Ben Nelson.

Let me skip away from the Senate now and get to a feature in yesterday's Scranton Times-Tribune by my old friend Borys Krawczeniuk about a very different kind of Democrat than Mark Pryor. Matt Cartwright is six days away from possibly doing something that is almost never accomplished in American politics-- displacing an entrenched incumbent in a primary, in this case corrupt Blue Dog Tim Holden. Polls show Cartwright with a significant and growing lead. Borys reported on his meeting with the Times-Tribune editorial board last week.
In unflinching terms, Democratic congressional candidate Matt Cartwright said tea party members serving in Congress "are hurting this country" and said he will "expose them" if elected.
Tea party members are intent only on "gumming up the works" of the federal government, Mr. Cartwright told the Times-Tribune editorial board.

"These are people who signed pledges never to do anything to enact revenue legislation no matter what," Mr. Cartwright said. "You can't compromise with people like that because all you ever end up doing is giving in to them because they refuse to give you anything. ... We have to blow the lid off these people."

Mr. Cartwright said people who send tea party members to Congress "aren't really thinking it through, because you're sending people into government who don't believe in government.

"My plan is not to go compromising with tea partiers; my plan is to go expose them for what they are, people who are hurting this country," he said.

Mr. Cartwright called for raising the income tax on the wealthiest Americans from the current 35 percent to the 39 percent level under President Bill Clinton, whose final years in office produced budget surpluses.

"Warren Buffett thinks that would be a good idea. Bill Gates thinks that would be a good idea," he said. "It's not much to them. To this nation, it's a fortune, a boatload of money that we don't need to be going into debt for to give an extra 3 percent to the wealthiest Americans."

Mr. Cartwright said Democrats have for too long allowed Republicans to win the war to "spin" the effects of legislation under President Barack Obama. "Spin" means creating perceptions-- correct or incorrect-- about a subject through a coordinated public relations campaign.

He said Republicans won the "spin" war over health care reform by calling it "Obamacare" at a time when many Americans were still suspicious of the new president.

"So let's call it Obamacare because that makes it scary," Mr. Cartwright said. "And then let's have people like Sarah Palin talk about death panels. Death panels. Nonsense. And that's all spin. We Democrats ... have to do a better job of spinning the message. We've been getting beaten in the court of public opinion."

Mr. Cartwright, 50, of Moosic, is seeking his party's nomination for the 17th Congressional District against U.S. Rep. Tim Holden, who holds the seat now. The district will begin to include Scranton and surrounding parts of Lackawanna County next January.

Mr. Cartwright ripped Mr. Holden for voting against the health care reform bill, which allows children to remain on their parents' insurance policies until age 26 and outlaws discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions; for voting for a watered-down bankruptcy reform bill that hurts consumers; and an energy act that forbids regulation of pollution caused by hydraulic fracturing used in natural gas drilling.

Mr. Holden is "not a fighter" and has passed just two bills-- both naming post offices-- in his 10 terms in office, Mr. Cartwright said.

Good government isn't going to fall out of the sky and land on our heads. We-- the people-- have to make it happen or the corporations will continue buying off corrupt whores like Eric Cantor and Steny Hoyer to enact legislation that oppresses the 99% on behalf of the 1%. So far no one has emerged to challenge Mark Pryor in Arkansas in 2014. We have time to work on that. But next Tuesday, Democratic voters in northeast Pennsylvania have an opportunity to make history by replacing a corrupt and reactionary Blue Dog careerist with a progressive public servant. It's not too late to help Matt win this one.

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At 3:10 PM, Blogger John said...

Yes, Democrats DO care. They apparently care that the Buffet Rule does NOT pass. (The Repubs care deeply about education in the same way.)

The fundamental problems this country faces were no different when the Dems had massive majorities in both houses of congress. Where was this legislation then?

Don't forget that those massive majority Dems failed to do NOTHING, in 2010, the only "action" required of them to allow the Bush-tax-cuts-for -the-rich to expire. (But see, also, "current president," below. BTW, has said current president yet begun "to fight" to prevent another round of extensions of these cuts as he so idiotically promised before the ink was dry on his approval of the first extension?)

Yes, I know, with said majorities the Democratic president still could not do anything because of the mean Republicans.

I know Mr Obama is young, but did he miss (and did all his worshippers forget) the saga about the previous Dem president who bent over backwards to accommodate the Repubs (cave on health insurance reform, NAFTA, DOMA, DADT, "end of welfare as we know it," Telecom deregulation, etc) only to be "thanked" by being impeached?

From observation of the current president, apparently the only lesson he learned from all this was that after being pilloried by his political opponents, Clinton, to show there were no hard feelings, signed the repeal the Glass-Steagall Act and the legalization OTC derivatives.

The Repubs will NOT get any less mean, only, assuredly, the opposite.

Things may get a lot worse before they get better.

John Puma

At 5:30 PM, Anonymous me said...

Republicans ... betraying the interests of their own constituents

You appear to be under the illusion that republican politicians' constituents are republican voters. Nothing could be further from the truth. Their constituents are those who fund their campaigns - rich fucks and corporations.

Voters' opinions don't matter at all, because enough voters to win an election can always be persuaded with propaganda.

At 5:38 PM, Anonymous me said...

Good government isn't going to fall out of the sky and land on our heads.

You got that right.

We-- the people-- have to make it happen or the corporations will continue buying off corrupt whores

I appreciate your efforts in that area, and I continue to contribute to Blue America.

I know that my few measly dollars cannot compete with the hundreds of millions from the bad guys, coupled with the boundless stupidity of the electorate. Yet we hope against hope, don't we, and do what we can.


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