Saturday, March 28, 2009

Caging the Blue Dogs

Between an economic plan designed and run by protect-the-rich jerks Geithner and Summers, the Senate majority leader telling progressives to sit down and shut up and the Democratic margin of majority in the Senate composed of repug-fellating DINOs, liberals today are more under seige than before the election.

Barack Obama may not be the second coming of FDR for which we hoped, but that just makes it more critical that we keep pushing him harder and further left than he would go on his own.

Harry Reid may find our grassroots campaigns for liberal priorities in the budget tacky and inconvenient, but that's all the more incentive for us to keep the pressure on that whiny coward.

Evan Bayh's Wastes of Oxygen Who Are Afraid to Admit They're Really Wingnut Freakazoids may be throwing a "centrist" temper tantrum, but that just forces us to make sure they get a political time-out. Steve Benen gets it:

Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) has noticed some of the progressive pushback to his new working group, compromised of "centrist" Democrats, who want to water down make President Obama's popular domestic policy agenda more palatable to a small Republican minority. Apparently, he's not happy about it.

Bayh announced last week that a group of centrist Democrats had come together to negotiate as a bloc with the White House and party leaders on major legislation. He promptly found himself targeted by an ad accusing him of "standing in the way of President Obama's reforms."

"We literally have no agenda," Bayh shot back. "How can they be threatened by a group that has taken no policy positions?"

The problem, of course, is that people feel "threatened" because Bayh and the Blue Dogs do have an agenda, and we've already seen some of their policy positions. The Wall Street Journal noted this morning that the working group's stated goal is to "protect business interests."

Ryan Powers highlighted some of these Democrats' other recent exploits:

* Shrinking Economic Recovery: The group's first significant "success" was "paring down the more than $900 billion economic stimulus bill to $787 billion," reducing the government's ability to spur economic recovery quickly. [Roll Call, 3/12/2009]

* Preserving The Bush Tax Cuts: Regarding Obama's plan to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire, Bayh said, "I do think that before we raise revenue, we first should look to see if there are ways we can cut back on spending." [Politico, 3/3/2009]

* Delaying Cap-and-Trade: Bayh coalition member, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), explained that the group might "push for a more lenient phase-in period for a cap-and-trade system and revenue-raising offsets to pay for expensive mandates." [CQ Politics, 3/9/2009]

* Weakening Bankruptcy Protection: Centrist Democrats "forced changes to a House bill that would allow bankruptcy judges to modify mortgages, ensuring that the legislation better reflected the concerns of the financial-services industry." [WSJ, 3/25/09]

Americans elected Democrats to hold a 58-seat majority in the Senate, and yet, the majority party will struggle to pass its agenda -- a popular agenda, mind you -- because of Republican obstructionism, and Democrats who prefer to drive with their foot on the brake.

I'd just add that calling Bayh's bunch "Moderate Dems" undermines the liberal position. Call them what they are:

"Insecure Little Pricks Who Crave Attention We Can Only Get By Tearing Down the Most Popular Democratic President of Our Lifetimes."

Cross-posted at They Gave Us A Republic ....

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