Fire Your 'Credit Card Politicians'
It is a measure of the unimaginative, immoral depths to which so many incumbent senators have sunk that they do not appreciate how many of them just signed their electoral death warrants this week. By their recorded votes on the Bankruptcy Bill, I believe they have handed to progressive candidates who will be opposing them everywhere a convenient way of encapsulating all of the issues that will resound with the voters now, a year from now, and for a long time to come.
Some would call this "framing". I call it a common sense appeal to the moral values of voters that goes well beyond the specific provisions of the Bankruptcy Bill itself.
As Prof. Elizabeth Warren writes for Talking Points Memo, the Bankruptcy Bill "was supposed to be an easy push, 'assured of passage,' something that would stay below the radar screen." Instead, all senators --
"are now on record: 58 voted against giving just a little protection for military families set upon by predatory lenders. 74 voted against a 30% usury cap, saying the credit card companies are free to take whatever they can get. 58 voted against treating families beset by cancer and diabetes differently from those that run up bills on fancy vacations and over-priced nonsense."Progressive candidates now can justly accuse the Republican Party (and the Dirty Democratic senators who voted for cloture) of being "credit card politicians."
Soon, more incumbent politicians will be stepping off the cliff over in the House of Representatives. It is political suicide, and they do not even realize it.
Political party affiliation should not matter. Simply put, the goal of restoring a progressive agenda for economic justice, individual equality, and a better quality of life does matter. And I say that as someone who has been accused at times of being a 'yellow dog Democrat.' No more. If you aren't progressive, you won't get my vote. If you're a Credit Card politician, I plan to do all I can to shut you out as firmly as you tried to shut the courthouse door in the face of the medically needy.
What the Credit Card politicians have missed, I think, is the low regard most Americans have for their credit card companies. Nearly every voter in every party has repeated monthly dealings with at least one credit card company. Almost no one is fond of them. Now, they can add 'bribing your senator' to the list of other widely-resented credit card company practices that range from charging usurious interest rates to that annoying blizzard of advertisements that falls out of every monthly bill.
Tote up the pay-offs each incumbent senator has collected from the credit card and banking industry. Add up the dangerous deficits they endorsed by their votes for the Bush tax cuts, the Bush budget, the Bush prescription drug fiasco, Bush's "war of choice" in Iraq. Count the acres of public forest lands that have been given away to satisify the greed of corporate interests. Calculate the added burden to the welfare roles that comes of limiting the rights of horribly injured patients to get fairly reimbursed for such grossly negligent errors as removing the wrong kidney, or blinding a boy by refusing to do a CAT scan, or cutting off the wrong leg, or botching a routine circumcision so badly the sex of the baby has to be changed.
Show the voters how these "Credit Card politicians" are worse than the spendthrifts and unfortunates they want to shut out of the courts. They spend the public's money but don't pay the public's bills. They are like drunken sailors who make a huge mess and then leave it for their children (and grandchildren) to clean up.
In next year's primary season, and even more in the general election, progressive candidates have just been dealt a winning hand. They need have only the courage to play it aggressively.
Edited on the fly for typos
For those of you who still have faith in the centrist, unprincipled mish-mash known as the Democratic Leadership Council, try this. Navigate to the DLC website and use the search button to hunt for "bankruptcy reform bill" or any similar words. The return will read: