What's Wrong With Democrats?
Forget "What's Wrong With Kansas." A more relevant question is, "What's wrong with Democrats?"
Before I tell you, let's review where things stand:
* The Bush tax cuts created neither jobs or a sustainable economic recovery.
* What they did produce was a tsunami of red ink that threatens to drown the American economy.
* China now controls the pumps that determine whether the American economy floats on that sea of red ink or sinks beneath it.
* The nation is mired in an un-winnable war smack dab in the middle of the Islamic world's biggest hornet's nest.
* Mother Nature has sent us her first two "thanks-for-nothing" greeting cards for failing to do squat to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
* Four years after 9/11 federal emergency agencies can't even deal with a bad weather emergency much less one created by evil doers.
* Even as 50 million Americans can't get affordable health care, the Majority Leader of the US Senate pulled a Martha Stewart, profiting by dumping his Hospital Corp. of America stock just before it tanked.
* The Majority Leader of the House has now been indicted for conspiracy in money laundering.
That's the Republican record. You might think that Democrats would be taking on Republicans, point by point. You might think they would by now have said, "Enough! This has gone too far. Those people are crazy. Their policies are crazy. And the results prove it. It must stop and, for the good of the nation it must stop now!"
You would think Democrats would roll out their own solutions – solutions that begin to reverse the damage done.
You would think.
But that's not what Democrats are doing. Not even close. Instead they continue playing defensive chess, avoiding bold moves and hiding behind their queen's skirts. (And yes, that's a allusion to Queen Bee Hillary.)
I said I would tell you what's wrong with Democrats, so let's take it one burning issue at a time:
Taxes: The Bush tax cuts have been an unmitigated fiscal disaster. Any freshman econ student with a pocket calculator could figure that one out. Rather than using tax cuts to put more money in the paychecks of working Americans, who not only spend it faster, but also desperately need it, Bush's cuts disproportionally enriched the already absurdly, even obscenely, rich. That left American workers with falling wages while the rich got enormous raises. It's the kind of thing that would have driven old-time Democrats to roll up their sleeves and foment rebellion. But, not today, not now, not a peep.
So last week I proposed Democrats embrace The 1% Percent Solution, repealing the Bush tax cuts on just the top 1% of earners. That move alone would bring nearly $480 billion into the Treasury over the next ten years. (A lot money, but still less than what next year's federal deficit may be.)
How did Democrats respond to the 1% Solution idea? Like it was radioactive, that's how. A former Clintonite in DC circulated it among Dems and got a very cold reception. Why? What the hell's wrong with those people?
What's wrong with them is that they have let the Republicans define them. They are "tax and spend liberials." At least that's what the Republicans have branded them. And, like chubby little girls in grade school who fear being called "fat," Dems will even vote for unwise tax cuts rather than risking doing or saying anything that might add weight to the claim they are "tax and spend liberals."
For starters they could respond that, at least tax and spend liberals know that money has to be raised before you start spending the stuff, something "borrow and spend" conservatives don't seem to understand.
Anyway, that's why, even as the nation sinks into debt, Democrats still refuse to launch a full frontal assault on the Bush tax cuts to the rich. Even as the gap between the have a-lots and the have nots widens, Democrats, onetime defenders of the "little guy," haved not pushed for repeal of even just the tax cuts given the very richest of the rich. Instead they apparently believe it's better to let the nation be fiscally red, than to risk being politically dead.
In short, they are cowards.
The War: Ditto. Democrats again find themselves stupefied by Republican name-callers. In this case it's a terror of being called "soft on defense," and painted as sissies, afraid of anything that goes "bang."
That's why so many of Dems voted to relinquish to Bush their constitutional obligation to decide if the nation went to war in Iraq. And why, even now that it's become painfully clear to anyone with a newspaper subscription or a TV that occupying Iraq was a monumental blunder, Democrats still dance around the issue. Instead of fighting for withdrawal, they keep their hands in the pockets. Why? Because, they know they have blood on them.
Go ahead, just try to get Dems to fight and see how far you get.. Ask them to accept their blame and then fight to redeem themselves by doing what's right. Start with Hillary. Ask her if we should withdraw. The answer you get will be couched in hems and haws -- maybe's but then agains -- it was wrong, but now that we're there -- blah, blah, bladdy blah, blah, with a la de dah or two thrown in to hint they are really on our side after all.
Since the Democrats seem to be at a loss for words or a plan of action, let me help:
Memo to Hillary: here's the right way to answer that question"
The war was a mistake. I'm sorry I voted Bush the authority to get us into this mess. Now we have leave. We should tell the Iraqi's they have until January to get their act together because beginning January 1, 2006 we will begin withdrawing troops at the rate of 15,000 a month with the last combat troops gone by year end.
Simple as that. Oh yes it is simple as that. And it's defendable too – that is, if Democrats remember how to take a leadership position and then defend and fight for it.
Of course the Bushite neo-cons will scream that we are "cutting and running," and that this just proves Democrats are "weak on defense." Fear not Democrats. Don't run this time. Instead put-em up. Let's have that fight. Let's have it right now. Because there is more than enough proof that it's Bush's policies that have weakened US defenses, not Democrats.
* The US military is stretched to the breaking point,
* Enlistments have plummeted,
* Reservists civilian lives have been so disrupted they are not reenlisting,
* State national guard units have been so abused they can no longer respond robustly to domestic emergencies.
Internationally we are weaker than we have ever been. Iran and North Korea know Bush has most of our military assets committed to Iraq, which is way they continue jerking us around as they build their own nuclear arsenals. Our traditional allies no longer trust us since we misled them with bogus intel on Iraq's WMD and then berated them publicly when they refused to help us once we got stuck in tar pit Iraq.
So, who's really the best protector of America's defense? The guys who gutted our military power and prestige around the world? I don't think so.
So, why don't Democrats launch war on the war? Because, they were yellow-bellies when they could have prevented it to begin with and, with mid-term elections looming in 06, that yellow stripe is bigger and brighter than ever. They refuse to leave their fox holes. The only strategic skill they have perfected is the art of retreat. If they had been soldiers during WWII they'd of been lined up, offered a blindfold, and shot for desertion.
They have certainly deserted us.
I don't know about you, but I'm sick and tired of watching modern-day robber barons pillaging America and Americans, while Democrats cower. I want war and I want it now. The enemy is weak and vulnerable. I want Democrats to grab this opportunity and jump from their foxholes shouting and shooting. No more pussyfooting around the war or the growing gap between those in America who have it all and those who, day by passing day, have less and less. It's either time for Democrats to stand back up for "the little guy" or stop masquerading as Democrats.
For starters, they need to stop running away from the phony charge that by pushing to repeal tax cuts on the richest of the rich they are engaging in the "politics of envy." Polllllezzze! Gag me with a $1000 bill. If Dems can't counter that nonsense after all that's happened, they are hopeless. Start by asking Republicnas just when it will be okay to "envy" the super rich? When they own multiple large homes and millions of working American families can't afford even one home, or even rent? Is that when? Or when the prevailing wage drops below $10 an hour while the super rich can no longer count their net worths in the millions, or the hundreds of millions, but the billions? Is that when it will be okay to get our noses out of joint? Or is it when the super rich routinely undergoe cosmetic surgeries as tens of millions of working Americans can't even afford a trip to the family doc? Is that when we can "envy" them? Huh?
Holy moly, can you Dems make that argument for us? Can they? I'm still waiting.
Oh, and by the way, I have a news flash for you. Republicans like to accuse those of us who grouse about such inequities of waging "class warfare." Well, class war has been raging for the past couple of decades already, just without resistence. It took General Bush to push the super rich to super victory, as Democrats cowered in their Congressional bunkers. He rolled right over them. Hell, in some cases they even collaborated, like the quisling Vichy Democrats over at the Democrat Leadership Council.
So, what's it going to take to flush the Democrats out of their foxholes? The enemy is weak, weaker than ever. The proof their policies don't work, abounds. Their leadership has been shown to be corrupt. Millions of Americans in the Red Gulf states are ripe for change now that they have personally witnessed their emperor buck naked and impotent.
Yo, Democrats! Anyone in there? Are you ready to fight? Do you even remember how to fight even when all the facts are on your side?
And if not now, when?
PS: I am still waiting for some heavy hitter(s) to back The 1% Solution.
If no one steps forward by the end of October I will simply shut the site down.
Hello Howard Dean? It's yours if you want it.