Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Democratic ARRRRRGH

"The Democrats!!!  They're enough to make you scream!!!  What to do, what to do?"

Let's talk about this and do another reality check.  First of all, we won in '06 but we didn't win enough.   I know, I know - that's just excuses and we should be tougher on the Republicans and blah blah blappidy blah but there it is.  We did well in the House and weren't supposed to take the Senate...but we did.  Now we face a GOP ready and able to block whatever we do, and we just don't have the numbers to stop them.

This doesn't excuse "the Democrats" from caving on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) ..if that's what "the Democrats" actually did.  Despite the current meme going around the web, the numbers don't hold up.  There are 237 Democratic members of the House of Representatives:  41 of them voted for the Bush FISA bill as well as all of the Republicans.  28 Democratic Senators voted against the Bush FISA bill, leaving 17 Dems voting for it as well as all of the Republicans.  I don't know how you do math, but it appears that "the Democrats" voted against the bill, with a few strays going over to give the Republicans the margin of victory for their bill.  Since not even one Republican voted against this, the talking point is really that the Republicans passed the bill.

This doesn't let the minority of Democrats off the hook for letting this pass, and I know the urge is to go after these Democrats come voting time next year. 

I'm going to borrow from Air America talk show host Thom Hartmann and pass along his suggestion on how to handle this because I think this is what is going to actually work.  Instead of rooting around for primary challengers for the Democrats who voted with the GOPers, I say we send them a different message.  We contact those Democrats' offices not with anger but with this message:  We're not happy with how you voted.  We want you to vote the right way on (insert issue here) with the understanding that you have our support if you do.  Do the right thing and we'll have your back. 

All those Democrats who are in nominally conservative districts are hearing is what bad things will happen to them from the rightwing in their states and districts.  What they need to hear is that the people who voted for them support them in doing what they voted for them to do.  If all they're hearing is how they'll pay if they vote against Bush and the Republicans, they will cave.  If they hear that their support for voting the right way is not only appreciated, it will be backed up on election day they won't.

We may not give them an immediate spine implant, but we can start by giving them back support.





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