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"BREAKING: Democrats Hoping To Take Control Of Congress …
… From Republican Minority In 2010"

Why was that tweet from The Onion so funny?

Because it’s so true.

Despite a Democratic president, a Democratic majority in the House, and 60 members of the Senate caucusing with the Democrats, the corporate lobbyists’ agenda continually prevails.

If you want to force that situation to “change”, if you’ll pardon the expression, read on.

Brent Budowsky is a former aide to a powerful senator and to a member of the House leadership. And that was back when Democrats kept a majority in Congress for many years. It was when Democrats, at least occasionally, passed legislation that benefited ordinary people. Brent knows the ins and outs of Congress and he knows politics.

Writing in The Hill, Brent is seriously worried about what may happen this November:

While Democrats surrender on a long list of major healthcare reforms supported by large majorities of independents, insurance and drug companies pour campaign cash into Republican coffers in states throughout the nation. The front page of The New York Times said it all, in bold ink, on Dec. 29: “Money pours to G.O.P.”

These gushing rivers of special-interest money are aimed at electing Republican governors and state legislators, who would dominate the great redistricting following the 2010 census, threatening Democratic members of the House and Senate in 2010, sounding a death knell for Democratic control of the House once the redistricting is done, if not sooner.

But he doesn’t just describe the problem. Brent tells us how the Progressive Caucus can save the Democrats from self destruction.

  1. Progressives should speak for the huge majority of independents and fight for a public option with an opt-in provision that would allow states that favor it to have it. This would regain the political ground and reverse the political-sucker play against Democrats. Progressives should propose sending the money saved by the public option back to participating states for job-creating programs.
  1. Progressives should fight for the huge majority of independents and make price-fixing, price-gouging and collusion by insurers illegal. Any insurance exchange with legalized price-fixing is ludicrous and repellant to a large majority of Americans.
  1. Progressives should fight for the huge majority of independents and allow import of cheap lower-priced drugs that Americans overwhelmingly want.
  1. Progressives should fight for the huge majority of independents and repeal the Bush tax cuts for upper incomes, enact an unjust-enrichment surtax on Wall Street bonuses and use the revenue in the short term to lower payroll taxes to generate growth, cut small-business taxes to create jobs and give hard-time rebates to seniors and military families of active-duty troops.

Brent gave a small preview of his plan on the Ed Schultz Show last week. The video is available here, and Brent’s appearance is at 29:17.

It’s not too late, progressives. We can still rescue some sanity from the wreckage of health care reform. Contact your member of Congress and your senators. Tell them you want real change, not just words.

You can reach Brent Budowsky at

Originally posted to cmkay on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 12:10 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This diary is great. It's funny and sad at the (9+ / 0-)

    same time because of its truth. We have to keep pressuring Congress to do the right thing.

    Hearts weren't made to be broken by promises so often not kept.

    by Liberalindependent28 on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 12:16:24 PM PST

  •  They're Not Going to Be Allowed to Fight for Any (5+ / 0-)

    of those aspects of the bill. That's at least part of the point of not doing conference.

    Maybe there's some kind of message along those lines Dems could push.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 12:25:06 PM PST

    •  We'll need to get 100# of the House and Senate (0+ / 0-)

      before we could try to tackle anything as ambitious as your 4 agenda items cmkay.  Maybe in 2016.


      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 01:25:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think they have .... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, crystal eyes, laker, HPrefugee

    performed abysmally because they want us to elect more of them to office.. It's a trick: if they act like they can't govern without more, they think we will fall for it and elect more of them .....

    Pass HCR, then make it better? DADT is still there, 17 years later. How long will bad legislation survive before it can be 'made all better'?

    by emsprater on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 12:25:21 PM PST

  •  Comments (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher, fizziks, FG
    1. Redistricting won't take effect until 2012, as the census results won't be finalized in time for the 2010 congressional and state legislative elections.
    1. I don't think the Republicans have a wave election coming up.  They'll make some gains, to be sure.  If those gains come at the expense of blue dogs and other conservative Democrats, the impact is negligible in the House.  In the Senate, it forces the remaining Democrats to get nasty with process.  And the Senate is the harder one for the Republicans because there are more Republican seats to defend.
    1. Some "bad" scenarios aren't so bad.  Any net gain of more than 2 Senate seats for the Rethugs probably involves defeating Harry Reid, not at all an improbable thing.   (If Reid survives, it means the Republicans are not having a good year.)  This means either Schumer or Durbin become majority leader, and either will be a lot more partisan than Reid.  If we get a harder-ass leadership, 56 Senate seats is plenty; the Republicans were able to get more with less.  And since most of the Republican House gains come at the expense of relatively conservative members, Pelosi keeps a working majority.
    •  we will see... (4+ / 0-)

      I don't think the Republicans have a wave election coming up.

      I think it is more likely than you think.  Not because of some massive shift in the electorate...but because of low turnout by the overall electorate.

      I am not against all health care reform, I am just against dumb health care reform!

      by justmy2 on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 01:02:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yep, I think you're pretty close (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, HoundDog, costello7, nonprofit jim

      I don't think Reid will survive, and I'm not sure about Schumer having the freedom from special interest money, and I hope Durbin has the guts.  There I go again, building up hope just to see it get squashed by gutless Dems.

      If the Dems don't start ramming legislation down the Repubs throats or up their asses, I really don't care which, I'm going to end up curled up in the fetal position in the corner.

      Why can't they understand just how important this moment in history is?  They have to fight as if the future survival of our country depends on them taking the country back from the corporate interests, because it does!

    •  I think you missed the point... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      liberaldregs, corvo

      with point two...

      The special interest money (insurance cos, banks) is going to state races, hoping to elect republican governors and state legislators who are the ones who would then, after 2010 census, do the redistricting, assuring republican majorities in congress beginning in 2012.  It's actually a smart strategy for them, as destructive as it will be to the future of the nation.  But they're investing for the long term.

      Naam!! Tunaweza!!

      by bogbud on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 01:15:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sometimes I honestly feel like the only person (7+ / 0-)

    who believes that the GOP peaked way too early, and that the Democratic Parties troubles are largely self-inflicted and over-exaggerated by the Village, and that the Democratic Party might come out of the 2010 elections more able to function by embracing acting in a more blatantly partisan manner with smaller, but more likely to act without hamstringing themselves.

    Liberals, despite the inside-the-beltway memes and frames that they are crazy and unreasonable, could be won back to a united front on the wall with very little effort by the Democratic Party elite.

    Here's my three step plan for the Democratic Party:

    1. Everybody pick a partisan fight. If I were Barack Obama, I would appoint every single one of the people being obstructed by the GOP via one great recess appointment enmasse and let the GOP howl and scream about it. They would already be seated, so the howling would be impotent, it's something Bush did repeatedly, so they would look like hypocrites, and the Obama administration would suddenly be fully staffed and that would go a long way towards helping Obama have a much better run-up to the 2010 elections. If I were Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, I would put up some red meat for the base via stand-alone policy fights.  
    1. Blatantly throw the progressives an unspinnable policy bone as a united Democratic front. If Obama came back from passing the HCR bill by forming a united front with the House and Senate Leadership in trying to pass a Public Option as a stand-alone via reconciliation, or expanding Medicare accessibility, it would be like nothing had happened in the last year to dim the spirits of those who are the most upset with Obama. I don't think this will happen, but one thing I think Obama could do is repeal the anti-trust exemption that the health insurance industry enjoys as a stand alone policy action in the Spring. Nobody likes these assholes. It would be easy to frame it as the anti-hippy punch.
    1. Attack the GOP more, but also take shots at the worst of the Villagers too when they try to Clinton you with complete bullshit that is only important to them. Obama the President has bent over backwards, practically turned himself over and up through his own legs like a circus performer, to be nice to the people who proudly embrace those assholes who drew Hitler 'staches on his face. Since the GOP is going to vote as a block against you, make them the bad guys for it. Since David Broder and Richard Cohen are more than willing to Clinton you, take a shot when they do.

    I noticed that when Obama reached for boilerplate, the HCR effort lurched forward and I don't think that is any accident. Obama is good at taking shots, and outclasses most of DC when he does.  

    I think what I take out of the Democrats looking vulnerable in 2010 is this: who in the party is vulnerable.

    Largely, its the wanker class of reasonable centrists and progressive bashers.

  •  Corporate-crats and Corporat-cans have control (8+ / 0-)

    and want us to pay attention to differences between their donkey and elephant costumes and ignore how  they share a hidden corporate loyalty to a corrupt status quo.  

    After watching the health care debate in Washington, I'm not fooled by the costumes anymore.

    The only candidates I am going to get excited over are those who press for real reform to return our special-interest-ocracy to the people.

    If cats could blog.... they wouldn't.

    by crystal eyes on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 12:40:26 PM PST

  •  As far as attacking the right more... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm starting to suspect that Obama is playing the game of staying above the fray and expecting Congress to be the attack dogs.  But that doesn't work.  Congress doesn't want to be left out high and dry taking the heat all the time.  They either need to fund more and better independent attack dogs, or get some courage and attack from the WH too. I think Congress is starting to notice this or resent it, and what happens then is ugly.

  •  It's way too late to fight for #1 and #2 in the (0+ / 0-)

    current bill. Maybe in the future. There was probably never enough support for these issues in the Senate anyway. #3 is a boondoggle to an extent as importation can't be sufficient to satisfy the country's needs. It's still a good provision that could lead to further equalization of drug prices between different countries. Didn't seniors get some sort of rebates recently?

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