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I've been gloating a bit, and I hope you have, too. Aside from the House, the Democratic party did very well. But the country still has problems. The first, if not the only one, is the "Fiscal Cliff," and that needs to be dealt with by the lame-duck Congress.

This was designed to be so serious a problem for the country that the parties would have to compromise in order to avoid it. The fault in that scheme is that congressional Republicans haven't exhibited any strong aversion to letting the country suffer if it might bring them a political advantage.

That means that somebody has to establish that it is to their political disadvantage to let the country suffer, and they have to do it in the next month, more or less -- laws have to be passed before the end of the year, and that means before the Christmas break.

And when I say "somebody" has to do it,
I mean that WE have to do it.

The President is going to be pushing. He started with his latest weekly address. But he can't do it alone. For one thing, holding the "Republicans," in general, accountable isn't enough to switch Congressman Smith's vote; the Tea Party and the Club for (Slow) Growth will threaten him in particular. So somebody has to work in each Republican-held congressional district to make the discussion about how the incumbent is holding the national economy hostage to his ideology.

And when I say "somebody" has to do it,
I mean that WE have to do it.

If you are in a Republican-held CD (2010 results), then go after the incumbent. Write letters to him and letters to the local papers. There have to be local blogs; get the discussion going on particular votes and how they effect particular situations close to home. If your state has a Republican senator, take similar action on him (or them).

I would expect that most of us live, like myself, in blue territory. That makes our job harder, but it doesn't let us off. Actually, it gives us more targets. There are neighboring CDs and neighboring states with Republican reps and senators. We can write LTEs to papers which cover those territories. (The nearest big-city paper usually considers a large area its circulation area.) Local papers to the CD -- much less the state -- run blogs, and these seldom ask for your address when you post there.

Then, if your local Democratic rep takes a responsible position, praise him in a LTE. (You might write him, too.) In any LTE or blog post, look for a neighboring congressman to compare him to: "Congressman Smith's vote on the XXXX bill shows that he is looking out for the interests of his constituents who are working hard to pay their bills. I'm glad he's my representative rather than someone like Jones who voted to keep a tax break for his donors."

Also, while the pressure has to be on particular congressmen, the national discussion has a supporting role. Those of us who live in blue territory should write LTEs to national publications -- NYT, USA Today, WaPo, TIME, Newsweek -- about the need for a compromise,  Republican intransigence, flouting the will of the people, Boehner, McConnell, and such like.

There are several ideas that can be mentioned now, before the parties meet:
The Democrats want to keep the tax cuts for those under $250,000,000; the Republicans say that they want this too. So why not pass that law now and fight over the rest later?
I Can't see what the Republican donors have to complain about. They would only back candidates who said that tax cuts for the rich would result in great growth (just like the Bush tax cuts did?) If they will only support guys unrealistic about economic consequences, they have to accept guys unrealistic about their campaign prospects.
Democracy means that the majority prevails. The Republicans are saying that the majority wasn't all that large, so the minority must prevail.

There are 2 other -- perhaps related -- strategies being proposed on dKos:
Pressure Democratic congressmen to pressure Republicans.
The recession resulting from the fiscal cliff wouldn't be all that bad; let's accept it.

I've argued against the second, and may do so again. It's based on a misreading of what is involved in the cliff. For a discussion of tactics, however, only one point has to be grasped. This President holds himself responsible for the state of the country; he is not going to accept a recession -- even a minor one -- to make a political point.

The first seems to me to miss the point of democracy. We need to hold the elected office-holders accountable for what they do, not hold some other elected officials accountable for what someone else does.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA, gzodik
  •  We won most of the battleground states (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Frank Palmer

    Now we've got to win the battleground members of congress. We won the election by three million plus votes. We won in the West, the South, the Midwest and the East Coast. We have a clear mandate as the American people were asked, shall we ask those who can pay a little more to pay a little bit more? The American people said, 'yes.' So let's do this.

    The choice of our lifetime: Mitt Romney, It Takes A Pillage or President Barack Obama, Forward Together.

    by FiredUpInCA on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:03:15 AM PST

  •  Help me out here. (0+ / 0-)

    I'm far from an expert on economics and legislation. Surely, going off the "fiscal cliff" would not result in an instant and irrevocable recession. Why not "go off the cliff", and then fix the situation with things like a middle-class tax cut and jobs program? At that point, the Reps could obstruct things only at their own peril.

    And, is the expiration of the Bush tax cuts somehow tied to the "fiscal cliff?

    GOP: Bankers, billionaires, suckers, and dupes.

    by gzodik on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:31:45 PM PST

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