Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Bush allied Democrats must go; Wiretap sanctioning is the last straw.

Once again the "new" Democratic majority collectively failed to do what it was elected to do. It once again caved into the wishes of George W. Bush. What are these Democrats afraid of? George W. Bush is one of the most unpopular presidents of all time with poll numbers hovering just below 30 per cent. Thanks to the Democratic majority George W. Bush now has congressionally sanctioned powers to wiretap American citizens at will. Until those Democrats who continue to support unconstitutional Bush actions are shown that there are consequences for their actions they will continue to do what they having been doing.....becoming the silent partners of the morally challenged Bush administration. With the previous do nothing congress Democrats could always say "We were outnumbered" They can say that this time because they are in control of both houses. They have to be made to feel the heat. Every progressive voting Democrat should write to his or her representative in the Senate or House and express his or her outrage at Democratic inaction. What does King George have over them? Did he threaten them? Did he tell them "If you don't vote the way I want you to you the same thing that happened to Paul Wellstone will happen to you? I am really suprised at those Democrats who supported unconditional wiretaps (Webb, Inouye). This type of betrayal and complete disregard of the constitution by DEMOCRATS as well as Republicans can't continue. Something has to be done about it immediately. Bush cannot continue to have a rubber stamp Congress. The only was to stop this is to replace the Blue Dog/DLC Democrats with progressives. This will not be difficult because the Democratic/Progressive wing of the party is estimated to be at least 40%. I have always admired John Conyers. He has been on the right side of so many issues. I don't understand why the man who wrote a book on impeaching Bush is not backing off from doing so. The wiretap issue just shows the urgent need for the Impeachment of Bush, Cheney, Gonzales etc. NOW because they can do considerably more damage in the remainder of their lame duck term. Initially I was pleased to see Nancy Pelosi become the Democratic Congressional leader. I don't feel that way now. She continues to coddle this dangerous president. She is NOT reprensenting the will of the people who supported her. Most US citizens want impeachment. How can she be so compassionate with a tyrant when the Democratic presidential predecessor WAS IMPEACHED for one personal matter. George Bush's offenses are just too numerous to mention in this article. This why people around the country, and especially in California MUST support the candidacy of Cindy Sheehan when she runs against Pelosi. We cannot continue to financially support these people when they continue to forget us when the time comes to vote on issues crucial to the average US citizen. Of course we do have many progressive Democrats who have voted correctedly, but we need more of them. Democrats in this and the preceeding Do Nothing Congress have dropped the ball when it came to 1) The Iraq War 2) Supreme Court Nominations 3) Insurance 4)Abortion 5) Electoral Disenfranchement 6) The Environment 7) Partisan firings of Districts Attorney and now Unwarranted Domestic Surveillance. It's time to let the DINOS know that we're fed up and we're not going to take it anymore.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Centrists Didn't Hold by Noam Schieber

NOT very long ago, the Democratic Leadership Council was a maker of presidents — or, at least, the maker of a president. In 1991, Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas, then the council’s chairman, elucidated the “New Democrat” ethos and previewed the themes of his presidential candidacy (“opportunity, responsibility, community”) with a speech at the centrist group’s annual conference. “It became the blueprint for my campaign message,” Mr. Clinton later wrote in his autobiography. He added, “By embracing ideas and values that were both liberal and conservative, it made voters who had not supported Democratic presidential candidates in years listen to our message.”
But few headlines will be made this weekend at the council’s “National Conversation” in Nashville. The next president of the United States almost certainly won’t be there. Not only are Democratic front-runners like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama planning to skip the conference, but so are the Bill Richardsons and Chris Dodds of the field. That’s probably a good move for the candidates, as the council has become radioactive among Democratic primary voters. But the Democratic Leadership Council’s fading influence is also good news for the entire party.
One cause of the council’s decline is obvious. The group lost a direct line to the White House when Bill Clinton left office. But the change has also come about for more subtle reasons. The New Republic, where I work, was once closely associated with the council’s moderate agenda. These days, however, many of the fights the group picks seem as quaint to me and my colleagues as an old Fleetwood Mac song. Despite what you hear from the council, the biggest problem facing the Democrats, and the nation, is not the party’s liberal activists.
Before the Clinton presidency, the leadership council’s critique of the Democratic Party had merit. Many voters emerged from the 1970s and early ’80s deeply skeptical of liberalism. As Mr. Clinton put it in his 1991 speech, people who once voted for the Democrats no longer “trusted us in national elections to defend our national interest abroad, to put their values in our social policy at home or to take their tax money and spend it with discipline.”
The council grew out of frustration with Walter Mondale’s crushing 1984 defeat. Mr. Mondale had maneuvered to win the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s endorsement during the Democratic primaries, but his victory was pyrrhic. The endorsement solidified Mr. Mondale’s reputation as the candidate of special interests. In order to shake the label, Mr. Mondale proposed raising taxes to cut the deficit, which only worsened his image among swing voters.
During the 1980s and ’90s, the council played a vital role in curbing both the perception and the reality of liberal excess inside the Democratic Party, and its efforts paved the way for Mr. Clinton’s ascendance. The council’s medicine worked. The centrist wing of the party won important battles on welfare reform, crime and the budget. By the late ’90s, Americans trusted Democrats to run the economy and keep their neighborhoods safe.
But George W. Bush taught Democrats of all stripes that their differences with one another were minor compared with the differences between them and Republicans. For seven years, Democrats have faced a radical administration that operates in bad faith. Yet there was the Democratic Leadership Council, still arguing that teachers unions endanger the republic.
Democrats, moderate and liberal, have been bewildered by the group’s post-Clinton agenda. Take, for example, the law passed by Congress in 2005 that makes it harder for ordinary people to declare bankruptcy. The measure’s only obvious beneficiary was the credit-card industry, and most Democrats opposed it. One main exception was a coalition of House members allied with the council. In an implicit rebuke to their Democratic colleagues, these New Democrats declared their support for the bill “as champions of both personal and fiscal responsibility.”
But Democrats had by this point done much to establish themselves as proponents of “personal and fiscal responsibility.” They were in no danger of trashing the party’s post-Clinton reputation. More important, the bill hardly seemed like a high priority amid the Bush administration’s vast upward redistribution of wealth.
The leadership council made an analogous mistake in the aftermath of the Iraq war. By 2006, most Democrats who supported the invasion had recanted. But council officials doubled down in the face of the fiasco, attacking opponents of the war during Ned Lamont’s Senate campaign against Joe Lieberman.
Today, the council has almost no constituency within the Democratic Party. About every five years, the Pew Research Center conducts a public opinion survey to sort out the country’s major ideological groupings. In 1999, Pew found that liberals and New Democrats each accounted for nearly one-quarter of the Democratic base. By the next survey in 2005, New Democrats had completely disappeared as a group and the liberals had doubled their share of the party. Many moderates, radicalized by President Bush, now define themselves as liberals.
On a variety of issues the council, and not the party’s liberal base, is out of touch with the popular mood. A recent Washington Post poll found that 60 percent of independents, along with 70 percent of Democrats, favor withdrawing from Iraq by next spring.
Two decades of work by the Democratic Leadership Council — and a not inconsiderable assist from President Bush — have made the Democratic Party the healthiest it has been in the 22 years of the council’s existence. Democrats should thank the group and then tell it that it’s no longer needed.
Noam Scheiber is a senior editor for The New Republic.