Friday, March 27, 2009

What is the world coming to...

... when a liberal Democratic Senator from California won't agree to support union organizing?

Old Hickory would not be pleased

Greg Sargent reports that Feinstein, Who Co-Sponsored EFCA In 2007, May Not Support It This Time Washington Post blog 03/27/09.

This is just pitiful. This is why we need primary challenges to Dems that feel such strong temptation to capitulate on key issues.

It's also a sign of the weaknesses of the Democratic Party that built up over a long time. Somehow the Democrats fastened on the idea that it would be clever to have their majority leaders in Congress be people from more vulnerable electoral districts. The House Dems finally wised up and got Pelosi from San Francisco who doesn't have to worry much about challenges from Republicans but does have to worry about primary challenges from her own Party if she starts going all Joe Lieberman on things.

Speaking of whom, this is also part of the repercussions of welcome Holy Joe back into the fold with open arms even after he actively campaigned for the Republican Presidential candidate even during the primaries.

Then just this past week, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid from purple-state Nevada praised the Blue Dog Democrats who announced a new group of conservative leaning Dems whose purpose is to form alliances with Republicans against the Democratic program. Now, there's nothing wrong with Party diversity. I'd hate to see the Dems turn into an authoritarian group like the Republicans became over the last couple of decades. But it's one thing to have the Congressional Progressive Caucus whose purpose is to be consistent advocates for basic Democratic issues of peace and realistic diplomacy and support for labor and Social Security. But when a group like Evan Bayh's Blue Dog Dems forms for the purpose of allying with Republicans against the Democrats, what in the name of Andrew Jackson is the Democratic Senate leader doing praising them for that?

In any case, this kind of weak-in-the-knees attitude on issues important to organized labor, which is still the Democrats' most important single constituency in terms of delivering votes, is part of the result. I don't always approve of Nancy Pelosi's calls in the House. And her public presentation aren't always Oscar quality. But she's a fighting Dem. And that's what we need in the Party leadership in the Senate, too.

And while I'm griping about Democratic problems, this ridiculous business I keep seeing about how the Democrats need to have 60 votes in the Senate to pass anything has gotten to be a real nails-on-the-blackboard thing for me. No, they don't need 60 votes. They just need to get 51 votes to abolish the filibuster rule - which the Republicans effectively abolished anyway in their threats over the "nuclear option" which the "Gang of 14" brokered to basically give the Republicans what they wanted back in 2006.

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