Some Senate Democats Are, Well, Idiots

Sam Stein, of HuffPo, posted a piece yesterday that just floored me:

Democrats Contemplate How To Forfeit Their Power Upon Regaining The Senate

It began:

After watching Senate Republicans lower the threshold for confirming a Supreme Court justice in order to vote Neil Gorsuch onto the court, Senate Democrats are openly talking about making it harder for themselves to do the same, if and when they regain power.

Over the past few days, a number of Democratic lawmakers have said they’d be open to bringing back the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees.

“When the Democrats return to the majority and capture the presidency ― which we will, that day is going to arrive ― we will restore the 60-vote margin,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) told MSNBC on Monday. “We will ensure that for the Supreme Court, there is that special margin that any candidate has to reach, because that is essential to ensuring that our country has a confidence in people who are nominated, rather than just someone who passes a litmus test.”

Image result for knife fightIf you ever wondered why Democrats get rolled so often by ruthless Republicans, now you can see why. Jeez. If the Democratic Party wants people to support it, wants people to knock on doors for it, wants people to send it money, its leader better put out a retraction of this bullshit right now. I ain’t working to support a party that would have its throat cut by Republicans in a fight, and then when it wrestles the knife out of Republican hands, uses that same knife to cut its own throat.

Oh, my.

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11 Comments

  1. Jim Hight

     /  April 17, 2017

    Yes, Democrats are their worst enemies. I hope Elizabeth warren takes over the Majority Partly Leader when (and if) Democrats take the Senate. I write “and if” because the party will always lose unless this tiff with the Bernie supporters ends. As long as the in-fighting continues, Republicans will continue to tear the country apart.

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    • Yep. I wrote a piece today that puts the onus on both sides to heal the divide, but unless Bernie joins the party, I’m afraid many of us will continue to tune him out. He has to get in the boat and sink or sail with us.

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  2. It’s not just Congress that’s split into warring factions but the citizens themselves. Until that is healed, I submit, attempts at legislative (and judicial) compromise will be futile. So, I must agree that it makes no sense for now to weaken one’s own side. I think recovering from this will take a long time, maybe even more than a generation.

    The outlook is not good because, fundamentally, the malaise derives from the loss of jobs and despite Tr;mp’s promises, those jobs are not coming back. Globalism and technology are relentless. The jobs of the future will not include any rote, repetitious activity for people, so we are left with only those occupations that require creativity, services, and subtle pattern-recognition skills.

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    • You describe the future very well, Jim. Robotics will continue to obviate the need for a large manufacturing base. And, despite Tr-mp’s tough talk, globalism is here to stay. It’s much too late to corral that horse. And besides that, millions of jobs in America depend on globalism, depend on high-end trade. In that sense, both Bernie and Tr-mp are talking shit. The real discussion ought to focus on what to do in this transition period about all those displaced workers. And we must focus on how to train the next generation of workers so they can acquire the skills you outline. But only Obama (and Hillary, to her credit) talked about those things in any detail. And, alas, no one listened. It’s too easy to demagogue the trade issue than deal with the problems we might actually be able to solve.

      Duane

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  3. DG

     /  April 17, 2017

    Well stated Duane. I especially loved the adjective “ruthless” you used to describe the republicans. I’d like to add a few of my own but I best not. I wouldn’t want Anson to be up all night trying to come up with enough big words to defend his party. You know, like why his party is not a collective bunch of assholes. It might take him two nights on that one, and he would still be wrong. But, the republicans have been on the wrong side of history for so long, they don’t even care. The last time they were right, Moby Dick was a minnow!
    What if the republicans would use their ruthlessness to fight for universal heathcare for “all” Americans? Just think of that! Maybe fight is not the right word to use though. Since a large majority of the country, including democrates and republicans, want it, who would they have to fight? In addition, that same ruthlessness could be applied to our education, infrastructure, environmental issues and etc. These are things that would better our country and improve the quantity and quality of our lives? By the way, does anyone know what the last significant piece of legislation the republicans have passed to help the ” everyday”, common men and women in our country? I mean go back 30, 40, even 50 years?
    The democrates have been taking a beating, as Duane and Jim Hight have indicated. Their throats have been so severely cut by the republicans, that they are starting to like it. In fact, when the democrates finally pry that knife from those racketeer’s hands, will they hand it right back as soon as the republicans start screaming foul? Observing them sitting on their hands, while Donald Capone and his band of racketeers rape and pillage our country, I’m very afraid the answer is yes.
    Jim Wheeler suggests it may take perhaps a generation or more to heal from this lawless, hostile takeover. Perhaps. However, I’m convinced that if the Democratic Party would join with the progressives, instead of fighting over who’s in power, we could start the healing process much sooner than what Jim thinks. But a united party must appear very shortly. Jim Hight suggests Elizabeth Warren as a possible leader to unite the scaredy cats on the left. That may well be a good start but we need more. We need the entire Democratic Party to join with the progressives or at the very least give their support publicly to those who are organizing and to those who are out in the streets protesting. They gotta loosen their purse strings and start backing progressive candidates. They also gotta quit being scared to make a move or a counter move.
    Of course I voted for Hillary, but I am a Bernie supporter. That is, I very much support his views. In order to beat back the rathe of bad policies that the loony right is bombarding us with and catch up with the rest of the world, we need a very progressive movement. Bernie has started one. You can see it with the protests and marches that are taking place everyday somewhere in this country. It’s an angry, disgusted and desperate cry to stop this dangerous bullshit republican take over before it gets way out of hand. Thank God they are!
    DG

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    • DG,

      I appreciate the passion you bring to the discussion.

      GOP politics, ever since Reagan, has been a ruthless game. When the conservatives battled for control of the party in the early sixties (and lost that battle then), they used every nasty and dirty trick in the book. And after their man Reagan finally won in 1980, they haven’t changed a bit, except that now they have real power all over the place. They are ruthless, and in some cases, dangerously so. Our side just doesn’t know how to react to such behavior. Our side wants government to work, wants people to be helped by it. We just don’t know what to think about someone who obviously is in government to, essentially, gum it up and make it dysfunctional, so people will lose faith in it.

      As for universal healthcare, I think Democrats have to make the case for it, even if it is only in a general way and without the kind of details that Republicans would, in a campaign, attach to it through “ruthless” demagoguery. By that I mean details like how much it would cost, how much taxes would go up, etc. Those details are what doomed Vermont’s experiment with it. They scared the governor.

      If we want to convince Americans that universal healthcare is in their best interests, we had better be prepared for demagoguery from the other side like no one has ever seen. The problem is that most working people have health insurance and get healthcare. It is not a pressing problem for a lot of Americans, even though it is a devastating problem for a significant number. We have to convince the average American that his employer-provided insurance is only going to get worse and a single-payer system, while costly, would be cheaper and better in the long run for everyone. That’s not an easy case to make and there is no one out there who is able to make it effectively, at least right now. If single-payer failed in a favorable environment like Vermont, imagine how hard it would be in, say, Wisconsin. This stuff ain’t easy. It’s very hard or it would have been done a long time ago. That’s why I’ve always been an incrementalist. That is the most likely way to a single-payer system. It’s just that some folks don’t have the patience for that, just like some folks in the Tr-mp administration don’t have the patience for diplomacy. By God, we’ve got weapons and we’re going to use them.

      As for a “united party,” I addressed that in my latest post. There is fence-mending to be done on all sides. I don’t think Bernie helps the situation at all by not becoming a Democrat. I think that gives him some personal advantage, but it doesn’t help the overall healing of the party. I think it shows a lack of courageous leadership on his part. Why can’t he just go all-in on the party and help it become a winner from the inside? Help it attract young people who should want to be part of the party? Beats me, except it has something to do with his own personal history of distrust of party structures. But you need a party structure to actually win races. And Bernie knows that because he used the structure of the Democratic Party when he ran his presidential race. Now, against the former claim of his campaign manager, he refuses to be a Democrat because he doesn’t need them anymore personally. I find that off-putting. And only he can fix it by joining the party instead of throwing rocks at it all the time. And the party should welcome him, and his ideas, in with open arms and forget about what has happened. The focus needs to be on the grifters and oligarchs in charge right now and how best to get rid of them.

      Duane

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  4. King Beauregard

     /  April 20, 2017

    Ideally we should bring back the 60-vote cloture, with proper safeguards to keep it from being weaponized. Unfortunately, the nuclear option is now in just common enough use that we would first need to figure out how to fix the nuclear option.

    But more than anything, the problem still lies with VOTERS. If conservative voters fall in line on Election Day and liberal voters do not, more Republicans will get into office, and that means the system is working exactly as it should. Our system of government places ultimate power in the hands of the people, and there is nobody more derelict in their duties than the people, especially those on the Left.

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    • KB,

      I think we are in times so unprecedented that the MAD doctrine in the Senate that kept either side from fully ending the filibuster rule may no longer be a deterrent. I can see frustration building on the GOP side, as it is becoming clear that a relatively small group of crazy zealots inappropriately called the Freedom Caucus is holding a relatively large group of slightly-less-crazy zealots hostage. Nothing can get done because of the dynamics on the Republican side: anything that can pass the House on almost any issue of substance cannot get by a filibuster by Democrats in the Senate. This situation will eventually lead to Tr-mp first suggesting, then demanding, that McConnell do away with the legislative filibuster. And while I don’t think that is likely, it is more likely now than ever before. A do-nothing Congress under GOP control is very vulnerable in two years, not to mention in four. So, anything is possible.

      As for our system “working exactly as it should,” I have a problem with that. I will grant you it is working as it was designed, with the Electoral College distorting the national preferences of the people. Hillary won the election, as we all know, if the system were a truly democratic one and if the whole concept of “national” had any meaning under our system. But she lost and she lost largely because of what you said about some on the left, who stubbornly withheld their vote or wasted it on Jill Stein’s sorry ass. I think Bernie had a lot to do with that particular dynamic, in the crucial beginning phases of the campaign, even though he did try to, in his Bernian way, help out later on. The problem is that right now he seems to be back in that initial phase, essentially withholding his embrace of the Democratic Party in hopes that, suddenly, all those independents out there will suddenly become Vermont socialists and radically turn the Democratic Party into something it is not and cannot be, at least at this point in time.

      Here’s my biggest problem with Bernie: he won’t join the party because he doesn’t want to be seen as part of the “establishment.” Joining the party would mean he would have some direct responsibility for its successes or, more important, its failures. He can stand on safe ground, outside the party, and take credit for its successes and blame others for its failures. I think that shows a dismaying lack of real leadership. He should get in the water and encourage all those independents, especially young voters, to get in with him and become part of the solution to the party’s electoral woes. As of now, he wants to have it both ways, which seems like his career-long mode of operating.
      Duane

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      • King Beauregard

         /  April 20, 2017

        Goddamn, well put about Bernie’s refusal to actually help.

        He could even make a superficially good case that he has been on the side of voting all along. After all, he did eventually endorse Hillary, and you can find places where he came out and said that progressives need to vote for Hillary. Now is the time when he should try being a leader and actually say what needs to be said: “I told you to vote for Hillary Clinton, you didn’t, and now you’ve got Trump. And you’ll keep getting Republicans until you make a point of voting them out, in EVERY election.” You and I would doubtless note the flip-flop but we’d let it pass because it’s what needs to be said.

        About the nuclear option, the filibuster, and MAD: we have finally reached the last line of defense, the voters. That’s how bad things have gotten, that’s how desperate we are. Which is all the more reason for Bernie to take his head out of his ass, just for a little while, and risk pissing off his cult to save the country.

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        • Couldn’t agree more, especially about Bernie having to “risk pissing off his cult to save the country.” I don’t think that is overstating the case at all. He is in a unique position in a unique time. He has to act uniquely.

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  1. The Message, The Messenger, And How Democratic Party Unity Is A Two-Way Street | The Erstwhile Conservative: A Blog of Repentance

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