Tim McMullen's Missives and Tomes

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Question to Democratic Leaders: How Can We Make Ourselves Look More Stupid, Ineffectual, and Unprincipled?

From my page on the Democratic Blog: http://my.democrats.org/page/community/blog/timmcmullen

Political cowardice and unprincipled capitulation in the name of pragmatism are impulses that have often caused the Democratic Party to implode. The leaders of the Democratic Party and the grass root supporters of progressive principles need to use the tools at our disposal to pass the most progressive legislation possible.

Horribly compromised or eviscerated legislation is doomed to failure, which is precisely the Republican tactic. Get the Democrats to gut their own proposals and adopt some of the worst of the Republican and Republicrat proposals in the name of consensus building and bipartisanship; then, to a person, Republicans vote against these very compromises. In this way Democrats are coerced and conned into voting for debauched legislation that will ultimately fail, whereas the Republicans can point to the garbage and say, "We were against it!" Pathetically, you Democratic lawmakers fall for it every time.

So stop capitulating! Stop wringing your hands and saying you don't have enough votes. Use the tools at your command to live up to your principles and do what's right. Your battle cry has got to be, "LET THEM TRY TO STOP US!" instead of what appears to be our current motto, "How can we help them make us look stupid, ineffectual, and unprincipled while allowing the United States of Amnesia to perpetually and instantly forget or ignore the fact that it was and is the failed principles and policies of the Republicans and their corporate sponsors that have gotten us into all the messes that we are in!"

Our current grotesquely skewed and unnatural "Supreme" Court, a 5-4 fiasco that was carefully manufactured and purchased by the Republicans over the past forty years, has just handed the criminal corporations one of the most absurd and indefensible decisions in memory. In the future it will be held in as much contempt as the Taney decision: a piece of unprincipled partisan political hokum that is absurd on its face. Nevertheless, corporations will now be able to buy elections like they never have before. Just imagine how much harder it will be in the future to pass any legislation that protects the individual from the corporate criminal. WE MUST ACT NOW!

You Democratic leaders have held back long enough! Haul out the steamroller like they did after 9/11! You had a mandate, but you are losing it daily by letting the Nelsons and the Liebermans and the Limbaughs and the Snowes make you look like ineffectual nincompoops.

Look, you've lost your precious sixty votes, so now do it right. Strip Joe Lieberman of any influence he has. Take away every chairmanship. Demote him NOW—today; do the same to anyone who stood in the way of this legislation in either house. Let them take on their true colors and admit that they are Republicans if they dare. For at least ten months, you will still have a majority. Consider how a public drubbing of the turncoat Lieberman and his ilk would energize the Democratic and progressive base. You might actually have an answer to the manufactured "tea bag" bull.

Get healthcare done immediately by every legal means possible and move on to other important issues like truly regulating the banking and insurance industries, and passing a constitutional amendment to curb corporate power and to counter the most scurrilously activist supreme court in history. This advice is not impractical—it is eminently pragmatic, certainly more pragmatic than the systematic failure we have pursued up to now.
Tim McMullen

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