Monday, February 14, 2005

Feb. 11, 2005

The Real Deadenders

They lost power and in recent months they suffered horrific additional loses. Nevertheless hardcore deadenders have rallied and continue to fight a fierce rearguard action. Because they know if their hated opponent prevailed they would be unceremoniously tossed into the dustbin of history.

Oh, I’m sorry, I should have noted earlier that I am not talking about Saddam’s former Sunni stooges in Iraq, but leaders of the Democrat Party.

Since losing the last Presidential race, and before that losing their long-held majority in Congress, Democrat Party leaders, who triangulated their party into this mess, have been waging a life and death battle to save their cushy DNC leadership jobs.

But it’s been an uphill fight because grassroots Democrats are fed up with the whole values-vacant, conniving, smarmy, carpetbagging bunch at the DNC. During the last campaign this frustration took the form of a cry for change:


That cry scared the living hell out of traditional Dems. So, the rebel Dem who uttered it was unceremoniously shown the door by party thugs. While Howard Dean spoke for millions of frustrated Democrats, he was not in step with party bosses and those whose party patronage jobs -- and toady power -- were threatened by any grassroots intrusion into “their party’s” internal affairs. So they had Howard kneecapped.

Bush handily won a second term, and the Dems lost yet more seats in Congress, and Dem party bosses settled in for four more years of business as usual. They figured they could spend the next four years grooming Hillary or reinventing John Kerry, for 2008.

And that was exactly what they were up to when; from grassroots wilderness they heard it again:


He was baaaaaaacccck. But this time Dean was not interested in the Presidency; he wanted their jobs – on a platter.

Panic ensued at Fort DNC. Wagons were circled and political hit-teams were sent out to find and neutralize Dean again. They could not let him get control of the DNC because they knew the first thing on Dean’s “to do” list would be a purge of DNC deadwood that would make Stalin look a girlie man.

Hit team members went to work on Dean:

"I think Howard Dean would be viewed as synonymous with being upper-East Coast liberal, and that just makes the burden on southern Democrats that much more difficult," said James F. "Jim" Kyle Jr. (D), the minority leader of the Tennessee Senate.

But smear as did they could not stop Dean this time. He had too much grassroots support from Democrats around the country sick and tired supporting party leaders who not only lost control of America to a bunch of rightwing nuts, but were now telling us we had to learn to goosestep their way into the hearts of red state voters.

And so DNC party hacks lost that fight. Tomorrow rebel leader Howard Dean will take control of the DNC. It’s Hillary’s worse nightmare. And she’s not alone and Democrat House and Senate leaders are furiously digging in for their own anti-Dean insurgency. These Democrat deadenders represent a Who’s Who of party leaders, led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

They may have lost the presidental election. They may have lost their majority in Congress. But the old DNC leadership are not about to surrender. Once Dean’s victory was sealed party deadenders slithered to the nearest CNN microphones to deliver their first threats aimed at Dean and those who would follow him. It was they, not the DNC chairman, they declared, who were in charge of party policy. Dean, they demanded, should take his orders from congressional leaders and not dare try to set the agenda himself.

Then they called in outside reinforcements. They reached down into the corrupt ranks of big labor where they knew they would find people who, like them, had feathered their nests for decades betraying those they were supposed to represent. Dem deadenders knew they would find allies there because a resurgent pro-worker movement within the DNC would spawn Dean-like grassroots insurrections within union ranks as well. So big labor unions joined the deadenders in Congress. Big Labor's Dons threw down their markers as well:

Gerald W. McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, warned Dean, "He's got to remind himself, in terms of discipline, that he is the national chair of the party and there are other people in the party that should speak on issues as opposed to the national chair."

Another labor official put it more bluntly: "The question for all of us is, will he act as chairman of the Democratic Party or president of the Democrats, and what makes people nervous is the latter."

Dean’s response?


"The real message of my campaign was stand up for what you believe in and pursue the politics of conviction," Dean said. "That's frankly why George Bush was successful, because he gave the appearance that he had some deep-seated convictions. If you want to excite people in politics . . . you've got to be a party of convictions."

Convictions? Yikes, what a thought. A Democrat Party acting solely on conviction rather than weasel-like triangularization, valueless, deal making. Might just work.

The weeks ahead should be interesting over at the DNC. We can hope that once Dean takes over he does the same thing Porter Goss did when he took over the CIA, clean house. For starters the security guards at the DNC’s front desk should be given photos of Bob Schrum, Begala, Carville, and all the other so-called political “consultants” and told to call them a cab if show up. Then replace those conniving, too-cute-by-half, losers with hardworking, grassroots organizers from around the country – people who have actual firsthand contact with the America outside the DC Beltway. Fly them in once a month for meetings. Then send them straight back home before they catch whatever it is that causes those who stay in DC too long to forget who sent them there and why.

Then Dean should set down a series of markers – convictions that the party will no longer make deals over. He should draw a series of lines in the sand, lines beyond which his party will never again cross in search of money or votes:

Choice: Some good Americans believe abortion is wrong. Other good Americans believe a full-term woman has more rights than a fertilized egg or embryo. Both sides have a right to their beliefs. What neither side has is the right to impose their belief on the other. Those who believe abortion is wrong have every right to try to convince the other side of their views. What the do not have, and must never get, is the right to impose that belief by law on those who do not share it. Period.

Trade: Free trade must be fair trade or it is neither free nor fair. Therefore “free,” when used to describe trade deals, must no longer mean “free of worker protections and livable wages.” Or, “free of the environmental protections that US competitors must comply with. If a foreign producer wants to profit from the American market they must also be prepared to comply with the same rules as US competitors. Period.

Heathcare: After three decades of failed private sector health management and health insurance schemes nearly 60 million Americans still have no health care coverage. The only way to provide comprehensive modern medical care is through a single-payer health insurance program. Such a program would NOT be a government-run medical program but rather a single-payer national health insurance program. Under the current system competing private insurers and HMO’s insure only those Americans least likely to need medical care while rejecting those most likely to need it. Only a single-payer insurer can accept all comers and still endure the costs of such actuarial risk over time. Also, a single-payer health system can help control the cost of healthcare by using its purchasing power to negotiate lower drug prices and medical service fees. America is the only modern industrialized nation on earth that has not learned this lesson. It time to demand a well-managed, quasi-private single-payer health plan for America. Period.

The Environment: Global warming is real and, if we don’t start acting like we understand that nature will solve the problem herself by getting rid of the root cause – us. The US must ratify the Kyoto Treaty immediately. Then we need to move away from dependence on fossil fuels as fast as cleaner alternative technologies can take us. Period.

Social Security: Mend it, don’t end it. Private accounts do not mend what ails Social Security but threatens its very long-term survival. The real Social Security shortfall projected to hit in 2040 represents at most 30% of promised benefits. Congress can easily plug that hole by removing the $80,000 cap on all earned income. The wealthy would pay more towards Social Security, a fair trade since the wealthy could not have gotten wealthy without all the “little people,” who work for them or maintain the nations infrastructure. Removing the cap on earned income would still leave the wealthy with unearned income (dividends, interest and capital gains) untouched, so they forget about whining because they have to pay their fair share of Social Security. Social Security only needs minor adjustments like that, not private accounts. Period.

Taxes: The part of the Bush tax cuts that should be made permanent are those that directly benefit poor and middleclass working families. The rest should be allowed to expire as currently scheduled. At a time of war and record deficits tax cuts that benefit only the wealthiest Americans are unconscionable. Period.

I am sure I you can think up a few more convictions Democrats can start standing firm on. But for now that would be a great start for the Dean insurgency.

Democrat deadenders will continue to plant political IED’s in Dean’s path, but the momentum is now against them. The NNC, like Iraq, just had free elections and the deadenders lost. They’re days are numbered.

Nevertheless, expect them to play on the “Dean-as-borderline-maniac” card next. But it won’t work this time. Because I and millions of other Democrats figure that, if we are going to be part of a party that loses all time, we might just as well lose fighting for principles we believe in rather lose trying to cozy up to red state knuckle-draggers.

I want a party with a little “eeeeeeehaaaaa” in it. And Democrats need to to stop running away from it.

Because the real reason Democrats keep losing is because they have lost touch with their inner “eeeeeeeehaaaaa!”

Have a nice weekend.

Quote of the Day

"The way I had it is all gone now. The bars are gone, the drinkers, gone. There remain the smartest, healthiest newspeople in the history of the business. And they are so boring that they kill the business right in front of you." --Jimmy Breslin

Raconteur at Large

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