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The absurdity that is the Senate legislative agenda under the Republican leadership is pretty nearly rivaled by the Senate Democrats' hand wringing, finger pointing and most of all, lack of action.  Those of us who were at YearlyKos, or those who watched on CSPAN, got to hear speech after speech by our Democratic leaders railing against the corrupt and incompetent Republican Congress.  

Some of these leaders, including Warner and Dean are not in positions now where they can use their offices to stop the corrupt Republican juggernaut in its tracks.  However, those like Senators Boxer and Reid, who gave rousing speeches (although I unfortunately had to leave before Reid gave his).  I was lucky enough to be able to ask Senator Boxer a question, and I asked her about the Senate Democrats' plans to invoke Rule 21, as Reid did last year, in order to force a closed door session and debate any of a myriad of Republican/administration crimes, or even their own policies and agenda.

Sadly, her reply was less than acceptable.  

More below:

While she did say that it was something that they would like to do in the future, they were "holding it in their back pocket" for the right time.  And oh, by the way, tell Senator Reid that you really approved of his action.  Which brings me to this diary, and an idea that I was hoping that Senator Boxer would understand.

Now, I can see the worry about doing something bold, after all being comfortable and safe has gotten them to keep their jobs and not have to worry about, you know, governing and the tough stuff like that.  But even as more and more people are getting fed up with the Republican crimes, corruption and policies (hell, I had this exact conversation with my mother yesterday), they STILL don't know what the Democrats would do, or what their plan is, or why they should vote FOR Democrats (as opposed to just voting AGAINST Republicans).

Should we really be spending our time hearing about (and you be spending your time debating) amending the constitution to abolish same sex marriage?  Or flag burning?  Or shielding oil companies from windfall profits tax?  Or repealing the estate tax in order to make the obscenely wealthy even more obscenely wealthy?

Or should we be talking about illegal wiretapping of Americans?  Or illegal leaks of classified information by the administration for political purposes?  Or lies that got this country into an illegal and immoral occupation of a sovereign country?  Or illegal use of governmental agencies to pay "reporters" to push their policies?  Or fixing our voting system so there isn't so much question as to fair elections (whether it be 2000, 2002, 2004 or the recent election in CA-50)?  Or crime and corruption amongst our Republican leaders?  Or pre-invasion "intelligence lapses"?

OK, so you don't want to only be negative and be branded as "obstructionists"?  You don't want to focus on the "bad things" that have already been done?  So how about YOUR own agenda?  It's right there and already laid out.  I bet many Americans (probably a vast majority of them) would love to hear about how their elected officials are discussing items in your "Six Point Plan for 2006", which includes REAL issues like honest leadership and open government.  Or real security.  Or energy independence.  Or economic prosperity and educational excellence.  Or a health care system that works for everyone.  Or retirement security.

Now those are issues that should be discussed in the Senate.  And here's the thing:  THEY CAN BE DISCUSSED IN THE SENATE.  NOW.

So, I challenge you, Senate Democrats, to actually use what you have at your disposal and show this country, and the world, that you have the guts.  The plans.  The ability to stand up to the Republican bullies and take back this country.  NOW.  Not in November.  Especially since it is a tough road to win back both Houses of Congress.  Even moreso since you aren't going to get a mouthpiece in the RWCM.

How, you ask?  Well, you should already know, but how is this for a plan?

For starters, how about suspending unanimous consent so that these nonsense discussions drag out all day and therefore don't ever get to a vote?  And while we are at it, how about this for a bold move that would all but guarantee that Americans take a new look at voting for Democrats when they haven't in the past:

Pick a week.  Any week.  Something close to July 4 would work wonders from a "marketing standpoint", so you can tie this into taking back our country and making people proud to have our leaders standing up for We the People again.  Then, invoke Rule 21 every day for that week.  Force the issue.  Make the public aware that you won't roll over for the Republican agenda of lying, greed, corruption and cronyism.  And each day, invoke Rule 21 for a different reason.

You can push your agenda.  You can make it to raise public awareness of how your agenda is different from that which is currently being pushed.  How your agenda cares about We the People, while the Republican agenda results in lies, perpetual invasions and wars of aggression, taking money from everyone and giving it to the ultra-wealthy and corporate cronies, lowering of educational and environmental standards.  Debate your healthcare proposals vs. that which has been passed and pursued by the Republicans.  Show how you would make the US safer from terrorism, as opposed to what is not being done now.  Contrast your education policies with the farce that is "No Child Left Behind".  Provide some detail on your energy policies against the current "invade your country and steal your oil" policies.

If you would rather not push your agenda now, that is fine.  There are PLENTY of crimes and unethical acts that have been taken by this administration and the Republican Congress.  I listed some above.  There are more than enough to fill up a week's worth of closed door sessions.

And here is the biggest thing - the public would welcome this.  They want to move on.  Their view of Republicans is at a low.  Their view of Congress is also at a low.  Their view of this administration is at a low.  Their view of whether this country is on the right track is at a low.  Their trust in the mainstream media and their elected leaders in general is at a low.

Let them know why this is necessary.  Hold a press conference on the steps of the Capitol every day that week, and for a few days afterwards.  DARE Bill Frist to try and invoke the nuclear option in order to stop these actions.  Then show the country what a farce he is and what obstructionists the Republicans are.  Go on all of the Sunday talking meatstick shows and give the clear, concise and consistent message as to why this is necessary.  Maybe a message that sounds like this:

We are here to let you know why we have taken the steps that we have taken.  Why we are using whatever tools are available to us as a minority party to show that we are serious about taking back this nation.  We simply will not stand for declining healthcare, for skyrocketing gas and oil prices, for declining educational standards, for lies, cronyism and corruption that are killing our children, our brave soldiers and bankrupting our country.  This must stop, and since the Republicans in Congress and this Administration do not care about the American public and are not acting as leaders, it is our duty as Democrats to do so ourselves.

We need this now.  We can't wait another 6 or 8 or 12 or 24 months.  I wrote a diary a few weeks ago saying that these are desperate times and we are dying (literally) for leadership.  

So, please Please PLEASE:  show us some leadership.  Now.  

November may very well be too late.

Originally posted to clammyc on Fri Jun 16, 2006 at 07:37 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  it really is so obvious (13+ / 0-)

    but why they hide behind the "republicans are bad but we can't do anything" line is so damn frustrating.

  •  Keeping it in their back pocket???? (8+ / 0-)

    I would have thought that their "back pocket" was already bulging with that dry powder they've been holding on to for dear life.

    So when will that right time be exactly?

    Any party that would lie to start a war would also steal an election.

    by landrew on Fri Jun 16, 2006 at 07:41:01 AM PDT

  •  min wage vote in Senate next week (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Kennedy will be offering an ammendment to the Defense Authorization bill to increase the min. wage next week. Vote will likely be on Monday. I've been meaning to diary, but work's kept me too busy! Action alerts should be coming out shortly from lots of sources.

  •  I was glad you asked Boxer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that question and, yes, her answer was far from satisfactory.  I thought Reid also avoided the issue on Saturday night despite groups of people chanting "shut it down".  What are these people waiting for?

  •  Unfortunately, that would require courage (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wozzle, linc, clammyc

    And that is the rarest of commodities among Capitol Hill Democrats. Especially those who want to be our next president.

    "People react to fear, not love. They don't teach that in Sunday school, but it's true."--Richard Nixon

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Fri Jun 16, 2006 at 07:50:13 AM PDT

  •  A strategery (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wozzle, clammyc

    Maybe they are holding out for a higher impact, election cycle influencing big-bang, maybe.  I give it til then end of August, if not by then, well we are all [insert your choice of: Republican, screwed, lost, in big trouble]

    Give me a f'ing banana - Eddie Izzard

    by linc on Fri Jun 16, 2006 at 07:59:23 AM PDT

  •  I suspect (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    they're not invoking Rule 21 on a regular basis because they don't want to turn it into a blatant political tool.  Imagine a Congress where the Democrats are the majority, and the Republicans keep shutting everything down because they don't like our party's agenda.  
    I'm not sure I like that logic, as it's the logic of weakness and fear rather than strength and confidence, but it is a logic that I would suspect many Congressional Dems would appreciate.

    If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. - George Orwell (-9.75, -9.03)

    by nilocjin on Fri Jun 16, 2006 at 08:04:11 AM PDT

    •  I thought about that, and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wozzle, linc

      the answer to that is based on where we are at now.  If the Democrats regain power and are trying to push a real agenda for americans, or are looking into crimes, etc. then any Republican attempt at this will clearly be obstructionist and counterproductive.

      Here we have the opposite.  Nothing that benefits "we the people" is being pursued.  Crimes are going unpunished, or unaddressed.  There is so much that could/should be done that isn't.

      In a regular time of minority, this would be foolish.  But now, after all that is known and being done (and ignored), there is no other option.

      •  I actually agree with you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I just felt that the logic of this lack of strategy should be put out there.  I think it's incredibly weaselly to refuse to use every weapon in their arsenal (this is why I suggested I'm not a big fan of the reasoning I put forth above).

        If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. - George Orwell (-9.75, -9.03)

        by nilocjin on Fri Jun 16, 2006 at 08:17:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  When in the history of this great nation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      can you point to that at all resembles the level of corruption and blatant abuse of government we are experiencing today.  Additionally, when in our history have the American people been so blah about the goings on in DC?  We need something, we need leadership and the Dems need to use every tool they have in order to bring about change.  There is urgency here and desperate times call for desperate measures.

      Give me a f'ing banana - Eddie Izzard

      by linc on Fri Jun 16, 2006 at 08:13:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm 100% with you on that. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        linc, clammyc

        I was cheering when Harry Reid used this weapon the first time, arguing against "keeping our powder dry" again and again and again when it seemed they were keeping it dry just to look at.  Leadership is key, and this kind of maneuver shows leadership.
        As I say right above, I don't think the reasoning that I described is good reasoning, but the reasoning of weakness and fear.

        If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. - George Orwell (-9.75, -9.03)

        by nilocjin on Fri Jun 16, 2006 at 08:20:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well, remember Clinton's (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      clammyc, nilocjin

      Presidency?  When the repugs regained the majority they gridlocked the government for a LONG time.

      They always pull some sort of crap, regardless of being in or out of power.  They're a bunch of sh*ts...bratty children who've never EVER learned what "no" means.  

      Look at how they force legislation through...if it doesn't pass the first time, they try and sneak it through a different bill.  If that doesn't work, they try to re-introduce it at another time.  They NEVER give up on anything...until they get their way.

      Jesus, they piss me off!


    The Washington intense partisan behavior reminds of serials or formula B- movie plots. Good guys vs. bad guys identified alternatively by what party is in power. It's never about whether an idea is good or bad but who came up with. If this present is the future then we as observers should vote with our patronage power and require these bad-acting politicians to work for less. I.E cut their salaries and take the power of their franchise away by having more of Washington decision making witheld and remained at the state level.This is particularly important in the area of war. These clowns should not have the power to wage war. War should only be authorised by a NATIONAL REFERENDUM.

  •  What's it going to take? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I often wonder what it's going to take for the Dems to take a stand.  Harry Reid flexes his "muscle" once and shuts down the Senate, making Frist have a temper tantrum on the floor; we sent him so much love to show our collective approval...and then nothing.

    Barbara Boxer stands up and gives a GREAT speech, condemns the repugs, really represents "We the People", and we shower her with dozens of roses to show our collective approval...and then nothing.

    What I find most intriguing is that I thought the Dems were smarter than this.  I mean, don't they know that by sitting on the sidelines, they're not in the game?  And by doing so, their very own political careers are hanging in the balance?

    2006 should be a "slam dunk" for the Dems...yet we all know it won't be...and the Dems don't seem to have any sense of urgency about it.  It's so frustrating!

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