The Honorable Thing
by Duckman GR
by Duckman GR
I had a hard time swallowing the Democrats this week. I know they're smart, and I fully recognize that there are lots of pressures and conflicting interests, and I understand that there may be real benefits in this bill, as Sen. Feinstein attempts to explain. But, a coherent rationale for giving bush a huge victory issue to campaign on next year completely escapes me. Once again the GOP has taken a Democratic stalwart and turned it into a GOP bonanza. Never mind that the bill benefits the pharmaceuticals and HMO's far more than anyone else. Forget that the benefit formula is unnecessarily complicated and capricious. What matters the most is that Bush gets to crow about how he stood up for seniors, and social reform, and the future, and more.
Since, after all, the real negative impacts don't kick in, or blow up, until 2006, it doesn't matter what the Democrats say. The media and GOP will spin public perception for this prescription drug bill into a huge triumph for Bush and seniors. And in fact, by trying to justify their own vote, the Democrats will be making Bush's case for him. This only compounds the folly of siding with Bush on this issue, or any other. By the time cold hard reality hits the pavement, Bush will be done, this country will be done, the constitution will be a pile of ashes in its case, and 1984 will have arrived just a tad late to the party.
Maybe things aren’t so bleak. Here’s my favorite line from a recent Democratic success: To make the unusual deal stick, Schwarzenegger needed [State Senator] Cedillo's help to persuade enough Democrats to repeal the measure by a two-thirds majority, allowing the governor to follow through on his promise to voters.. Oh yes, the sweet smell of vict, oh, what, I'm a Democrat, sorry, never mind, don't mind me.
But seriously, all is not lost. A couple of things need to happen though. The current Senate leadership needs to resign. Now. They cannot seem to comprehend that RoveCo doesn't do give and take, that they just take, take, take. As I've said before, Tom Daschle is a decent, sober, respectable American, the kind we should be proud to claim as our own. But he does not have control of his co-workers, his message, or his party in a time when that is desperately needed. He's trapped like a fly in amber, his platform co-opted by Bush on the surface and unable to expose the superficiality of it because he does not own the media.
It's time for an outsider, someone not beholden to the old ways and old contacts. This is one of the lessons we can gather from this Medicare disaster, that this outcome will truly benefit outsiders like, Dean, Clark, and, yes, even Gore. So long as the Congressional Democrats remain unwilling or unable to acknowledge the futility of trying to affect the Rovian juggernaut while they remain such an overwhelming and toothless minority, they will be an asterisk, the other side of the ledger. But an outsider, even a former insider, would be free from the constraints of officialdom, free from the shackles of war votes and tax cut votes and patriot act votes, and, now, Medicare votes. It's not so much that the Democrats are tools of the money boys like the unmentionable one suggested in 2000, but rather they're teeth in the gears of the governmental machine, ground down to nubs, trapped in a vise of someone else's manipulations.
Of course they had to vote for this Medicare bill. Dulled by daily operations, trapped in minutia, imprisoned by the lack of imagination, the Democrats are leader less, adrift, astray. And until the primaries are over, or some other event unfolds that changes the equilibrium of the political scene, this will not change.
It's in the Democrats big tented nature anyway. When they held all the choice plums, they behaved like Democrats, and the GOP was able to participate. Now, with the GOP, of course, acting like Republicans, the Democrats get nothing but belly rubs, which, happily enough, only requires them to roll over obediently.
So is there a bright side? What else wrong can happen? Well, there's this non prophesied gem.
Actually, there may be some hope. The Energy Bill, temporarily down thanks to the excessive greed of The Bug Man (aka Tom DeLay), actually affords the Democrats with an opportunity, a clear message opportunity, an organizing opportunity. After all, the energy bill is the home of Ken Lay and Enron, blackouts are still fresh in people's minds, and with winter fast approaching, those heating bills are a not so pleasant reminder of the need for a sane and affordable energy policy.
The Democrats have a large grass root constituency, a cottage industry even, in the environmental movement. Fossil fuel is the driving force behind much of our environmental woes, and the Pork Barrel Energy Bill is nothing but $23 billion dollars of tax payer money going to the fossil fuel business, a very mature business not in need of government subsidy.
The environmental lobby has the bodies and the money to offset some of the advantages of BushCo in money and political power over this issue. But so long as the top Senators are in favor of the bill, the environmental lobby cannot win. So Tom Daschle needs to go. I don't know who should replace him, but it ain't Joe Biden, or Byron Dorgan or Baucus or Breaux. Maybe Mary Landrieu or Chuck Schumer. Whoever, the Senate Democrats need to think about this long and hard.
We need to let our Senators know that we are not happy or accepting of their recent efforts. We need to let them know that they need to stop looking at their own interests, their own job security, and start thinking about the good of the nation. Because we simply cannot afford another four years of George Bush. We can't really afford one more year of George Bush, but maybe we can survive it. I hope.