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  •  Good point (1+ / 0-)
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    seanwright

    I agree that not bashing the party ticket one is running on is essential, and those who do so are shooting themselves in the foot.  I couldn't agree with you more strongly on this point, actually.

    That said, more AND better Democrats is the goal, and although the first part certainly comes first, the second is also very important.  We need candidates who are both a) progressive enough not to be bought out by corporate interests and b) charismatic and clear-spoken enough to appeal to voters.  Candidates who don't meet these standards become our nominees at our own peril, whether we're talking about Ben Nelson or Martha Coakley.

    However, while I believe running against the party is foolish, I disagree with you completely that running against Washington is a bad thing, it's actually what Democrats have to do to win in 2010; running against the continued corporate influence in the Senate, Republican obstructionism, and a handful of conservadems stalling everything as a picture of what is wrong with Washington DC is a damn smart thing to do for most Democrats this year, and they'd better hop to it.  Spend time touting results as well - no question - but spend an equal amount of time railing against the forces slowing down so many more of those same sorts of changes that are needed to get more people back to work.  The alternative is that the mantle of outsider will be successfully hijacked by the Republican party whose policies we still suffer the residue of and whose power brokers still stymie the current agenda - which is absurd, and political suicide in 2010.

    I am concerned you are suggesting running against Washington can't be done without running against the party, that they are one and the same; however, Democrats must learn how to do one without the other, or the consequences will be abysmal.  It can absolutely be done, when one looks at the functional de facto majority of obstruction formed by corporate lobbyists, Republicans, and a tiny handful of Democrats; the proof is in all the changes voted for by the electorate in 2008 that they have thus far been able to thwart in health care, energy, and job growth.

    In fact, I think in a roundabout way the real danger (or at least the last straw regarding it) is for Democrats to assume exactly what I think you are regarding this particular point - that running against Washington requires bashing the party or the President - and therefore equating good reasons for the former as justification for the latter.  The message for Democrats is clear: be an outsider, run against the stagnant forces of DC lobbyists and corporative conservative politicans in Washington, tout results that present the Democratic party as an organization that despite a few nasty exceptions is pushing back hard against those forces, and above all avoid tarnishing the party brand or the President.

    77% of voters support a public option, Congress.

    by ShadowSD on Sun Feb 07, 2010 at 03:40:56 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Darcy Burner is my kind of Democrat too. (0+ / 0-)

      But I still feel that she is throwing red meat to the disaffected left that I find unappealing.  In particular she says:

      Too many of our Representatives, too many of our Senators, and too many of the people in the White House act based on what’s best for multinational corporations and their CEOs, not the American people.

      Want proof? Well, an obvious case is the public option. It’s supported by a large majority of the American public. It reduces the deficit. It provides an additional choice for the American people, who are struggling with healthcare markets dominated by one or two insurers who are generally colluding to keep prices and profits high.

      She's ignoring the fact that a robust public option, one that tied rates to medicare rates, couldn't even pass the House. It wasn't only because of the insurers either.  A lot of healthcare providers, doctors and hospitals, were strongly opposed because they hate the reimbursement rates.  And the Democrats weren't just afraid of losing campaign contributions, they were afraid of active antagonism.  And rightly so.  When the doctors and insurers are on the same page,they can do a lot of harm.

      I think the President was right not to insist on the passage of the watered down Public Option because it was worthless, or, worse, counterproductive.  

      Here's what Paul Starr had to say about the P.O. at the end of November '09.  I found it very persuasive:

      Discussion of the public option — a government insurance plan that would be offered to individuals and small businesses buying coverage through new insurance exchanges — has been dominated by ideological politics. Conservatives claim it would amount to a government takeover, while liberals imagine that it would radically alter the insurance market by providing better protection at lower cost.

      As it now stands in Congress, however, the public option would do neither. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it would enroll less than 2 percent of the population and probably have higher premiums than private plans. For progressives to say they will block reform without a public option is not just foolish, but potentially tragic if it results in legislative deadlock.

      An earlier version of the public option, available to the entire public, might have realized progressive hopes and conservative fears. By paying doctors and hospitals at Medicare rates (which are 20 percent to 30 percent below those paid by private insurers), the public option would have had a distinct price advantage. But by severely cutting revenue to health-care providers, it would also have set off such a political crisis that Congress would never have passed it.

      Instead, the bills in Congress now call for the government plan to negotiate rates with providers, as private insurers do. That limitation exposes a defect in the idea. The government plan may well have to charge higher premiums because it is likely to attract more than its share of the chronically ill and other high-cost subscribers. It could go into a death spiral of mounting costs.

      That's why I say I appreciate Obama not pushing passage of the P.O. passed by the House.  It was really only a sop to the left and not serious policy.  

      Now, with respect to the new litmus test regarding the anti-trust bill, to me it sounds like she's calling for passage of a pared back bill, sort of the piece-meal approach to reform that most experts agree won't work.  So, I see what she's encouraging as  a cop-out which she's selling as the moral high-ground.

      The kind of leadership I'd like to see from her and other Dem candidates right now is calling for passage of the bill, whether that be with a fix by the Senate first, or the House passing the Senate bill with a fix to come later, coupled with a harsh denunciation of Republican obstructionism.  To me that's real leadership right now.

      Speaking of the Public Option, Darcy says: "It’s an incredibly populist and popular policy."  She says that like that should be case closed. Personally, I find leaders who equate "populist" and "popular" with "good" very uninspiring.  I think Obama stopped pushing the Public Option because he realized that the P.O. that could get past the House or Senate wasn't worth having.  I totally respect him for abandoning it.  I want burner to be rigorous in promoting good policy and not to just chase what she think's sells well.  

      Having said all that, I wish Darcy Burner well and  I want her to do whatever is necessary to win her seat.

      But I feel like Dem candidates are sort of facing a prisoners' dilemma type situation.  If a critical mass hangs together, the Democrats will have better success than if they're all constantly accusing each other of being sell-outs and presenting themselves as the Dem messiah.  However, if that critical mass doesn't hang together, the Dems are going to have a disastrous year, and the best strategy for any given individual is probably to accuse other Dems of being sell-outs and promoting yourself as the Dem messiah.  But I think the best thing for the party and the country is for as many Democrats who have the patriotism and stomach for it to hang in there and be team players.

      "Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself." Psalms 50:21 h/t R. Browning

      by seanwright on Sun Feb 07, 2010 at 08:36:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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