Alex Blaze

Democrats lay out the agenda for the midterms

Filed By Alex Blaze | July 17, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: democratic agenda, ENDA, LGBT rights, midterm elections, Senate Democrats, White House

Democratic senators have been frustrated to see splits between Democrats on Capitol Hill and the administration emerge during some legislative debates.

"We discussed a need to better coordinate our message, to simplify our message and to repeat it as much as we can," said one Democratic senator who was at the meeting.

A senior Democratic aide said the discussion was about "getting on the same page so there's no more situations like we've had."

The aide pointed to legislation passed by the Democrat-controlled House, which on July 1 approved a measure to fund teaching jobs by slicing $800 million from three of the administration's education initiatives. That has drawn a veto threat from Obama.

During the debate over healthcare reform earlier this year, Democrats in both houses of Congress pushed single-payer healthcare proposals without administration support.

"It's about syncing up the administration and congressional messages to make them a little tighter," the aide said. "When something isn't echoed by the White House, it has less effect. It's about reinforcement."

You see, the problem isn't that Democrats aren't living up to their campaign promises or that they aren't passing legislation needed to get Americans back into jobs and to get the economy functioning again (as well as getting the country into the 21st century on a long list of other issues). It's that some of those dirty hippies that got elected from completely unserious, borderline Communist districts keep on pretending like they have any power at all. If they tighten their message, then the unwashed masses would, naturally, have less hope for the future and therefore place fewer annoying and unseemly demands on their overlords.

But, seriously, though, these folks think the problem is messaging, not that the economy is still doing terribly as there aren't enough jobs, not enough benefits for the unemployed, and the jobs that do exist are paying less and giving fewer benefits, not to mention all the other groups of people who bought into the idea that the Democrats, while not perfect, were at least sane and were going to pass legislation while they were in power to make the country function in a fashion that's just a little more fair. When "messaging" isn't a motivation anymore (like when the extension on unemployment benefits runs out again and the next election is two years away), they won't feel the need to do much else.

That's how people who aren't Washington insiders or crazy tea baggers see the situation. So this isn't surprising:

Senators acknowledge that once members return from recess on Sept. 13, little legislating will be possible before the election. That leaves Senate Democrats with four crucial weeks to build a legislative message to voters.

Actually, they had two years, not four weeks. But what's the difference? It's all for show anyway.

After 12 years of conservative Republican rule, followed by eight years of triangulation, and then eight years of "I can't believe he just said that" Republican rule, I think that we all forgot just what kind of people modern Democrats were, especially those of us who are two young to really have an understanding of what it was like back in the day when Democrats controlled the House and the White House and were holding many of the cards.

People got their hopes up, some more than others, and the Democrats had to kick them in the teeth these past two years to make sure that that doesn't happen again. At least they have enough humility to pass more funding for the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan off to the side, not as part of their core message before the midterms. It shows that not all is lost yet.

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It's 1994 all over again.

I don't know - what with health care reform, Wall Street reform, a slew of LGBT initiatives, financial reform, etc - at least they're trying. The Republicans just quietly loosened the strings and looked the other way.

IF the demos hold the Senate majority, the next order of business at the opening of the new session would be to amend the rules to allow 50+1 passage of bills. Then quit this ridiculous excuse of perpetual impotence by passing what needs to be passed, including the 275 bills approved by Congress but languishing due to obstructionism by the party of NO.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 19, 2010 10:34 AM

The process is "To form a more perfect union" understanding that it will never be finished.

Hubert Horatio Humphrey former mayor of St Paul, senator from Minnesota, Vice President and Democratic Presidential Candidate in 1968 during the great Democratic party majority in congress called himself "a progressive with the brakes on." The Vietnam legacy that tainted LBJ and the antiwar riots in Chicago during the party convention assured his defeat and gave us Richard Nixon.

Both parties then had a liberal and conservative wing. Most of the conservatives left the Democratic party when the voting rights act and other enfranchises came to African Americans. This meant that the "solid south" of the Democratic Party would become the solidly Republican place it is today.

Ironic, in that it was the Republican Party of Lincoln that had freed slaves from bondage in the first place. I say this because the labels and the history of both parties is increasingly irrelevant. Washington is run by unelected lobbyists and think tanks. When a senator says he has not read legislation you can believe him.

Still, the United States, with all her current problems, is paradise on earth compared to 95% of the world. Consider the EU and the riots today in France over austerity measures for instance. The winners are the Chinese and greater Asia again. The push within Asia now is to produce and sell into her own market rather than those undependable Americans and Europeans.