BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE
Wake Up Progressives, and Get Rid of the "Liebercrats"
Can you just imagine what the Republicans would do with their man in the White House and a majority in congress the size of the majority that the Democrats currently enjoy? They'd be invincible. The Republicans are horrible at governance, but they do know how to wield power. Just look at the mayhem they managed to commit under George Bush. So why is it, with their huge majority in congress, the Democrats are struggling to pass a healthcare bill that would benefit every family in America? The answer is clear - they tolerate too many Democratic turncoats.
Yes, I've said this before, but it seems that it bears repeating. If the Democratic Party wants to continue to exist, it's simply got to get rid of its "Liebercrats." What's the sense of even having a party if it's going to allow people like Joe Lieberman and his clones within its ranks to sabotage its very reason for being?
It is very commendable that progressives are so dedicated to their belief in social, political and intellectual, egalitarianism. It's commendable that they believe that all Democrats should be left to their own conscience with respect to public policy. But Democrats must keep in mind that they are also a party. Their only reason for being is to promote a progressive agenda. So while it's commendable to believe in a Blue Dog's right to independent thought, it's stupid not to demand some measure of basic loyalty while that politician is benefitting from their political brand, and living on their dime (make that, their constituents' dime).
The turncoats within the Democratic Party is not only making them look incompetent, but foolish. It's no wonder the American people are prepared to accept a Republican lie before they'll accept a Democrat pointing out what's right before their eyes. At least the Republican will tell his lie with conviction, and stand up for what he's lying about. There is such a thing as being too tolerant, and Democrats are just that. They allow people to walk all over both them, and their truth - even other Democrats.
Just think about the treachery that Joe Lieberman committed against the Democratic Party. After the Democrats oozed blood, sweat, and tears trying to get him elected to the vice presidency, this man turned right around and started snuggling up to the very man who literally stole the election from the Democrats. Then, he not only supported the Republican Party two elections later, but became the darling of the Republican convention.
Now, after winning the 2008 election, the president and Democratic congress not only welcomed him back, but passed over a loyal Democrat to give him a chairmanship - even though his own Democratic constituency had long since rejected him.
Can you even imagine the Republican Party doing such a thing? Of course not, because, again, even though Republicans are lousy at governing, they recognize that as not only bad politics, but down right stupid. The Democrats might as well have let the Republican Party bug the DNC. No vote is that valuable.
And what did Democrats get in return? They got a self-serving sociopath with absolutely no character. Lieberman has simply thumbed his nose at all of the loyalty, effort, and money that millions of Democrats put into supporting his candidacy in the 2000 election. And is he the least bit repentant? Not hardly. Even now, in a healthcare reform initiative that the Democratic Party has sought since 1947, Lieberman's public position is, maybe we should hold off just a little bit longer. He wants to hold off just a little bit longer as 45,000 Americans a year die due to a lack of affordable health care. This man is nothing short of Benedict Arnold, in a party filled with them.
But this is the people's fault. While I'm ordinarily not one to quote the Bible, in this case the verse seems to be particularly appropriate - "God helps those who help themselves." But the Democratic Party seems to be too foolish to recognize that fact.
The Democratic base should be up in arms over their party supporting such people. Their resources are being literally squandered on people who are Democrats in name only - and in the case of Lieberman, not even that. The DNC is wasting their time, money and effort propping up politicians who are only Democrats when it's convenient to use the Democratic brand to help them obtain power and prestige, or receive Democratic contributions to help them be re-elected. These are people, just like Lieberman, who give lip service to Democratic principles in public, but when the rubber meets the road, they're hard at work behind the scenes sabotaging anything that challenges the status quo.
But there is a very simple way to weed these people out. As the very first order of business with each new congress, the Democrats should caucus and agree upon a reasonable, but firm, primary agenda. Thereafter, bills should be put forward and amendments considered to address minor concerns. But after a bill has been agreed upon by the Democratic leadership, any Democrat who fails to support that bill should be stripped of any positions they hold due to Democratic seniority, and targeted for replacement the very next time he or she comes up for re-election.
Democrats simply have to take disloyalty more seriously. They shouldn't even have to discuss the matter. It should be routine - just so the turncoat will know there's nothing personal. If a politician wants to use Democratic resources to be elected, he should be willing to stand in solidarity behind Democratic initiatives. If he wants to be independent, he has that option. But let him be true to his fiscal or ideological philosophy and run as independent, so as not to waste Democratic resources. That way, he can support the Democrats when it's convenient, and the Democrats will support him, when it's convenient.
I'm sure there are those who will say that's extreme, since Democrats come from districts with varying political persuasions. But since many of these people can't seem to find the integrity to put their constituents before self-interest, we have to find a way to force integrity down their throats. You can't always get politicians to act in the best interest of the people, but you can be virtually certain that they'll always act in their own best interest. In addition, with this process the Democratic leadership can be held directly accountable when legislation favors lobbying interests over the interests of the people.
It's up to the DNC and the politicians themselves to educate the public about exactly what the Democratic Party stands for. A Democrat shouldn't have to lie to the voters about being more conservative than he actually is to be elected. He should be elected because he and the DNC have done an effective job of educating the voter that the Democratic Party's agenda is directly aligned with their best interest. If the party is effective in that area, when a voter votes for a Democrat they'll know exactly what they're getting before they even cast their vote - as they should.
Sure, Democrats want to remain a "big tent" party. But big tent doesn't mean a party that compromises its basic values, and neither does it mean a party that includes all manner of wing-nuts. A big tent party is one that is reasonable and measured in its effort to reach its primary goals. But when a tent becomes so big that it begins to accommodate those who would deny basic and affordable healthcare to the American people, that should send up a red flag that it's time to trim back a bit.