Democrats in Congress, this message is for YOU! There's a reason Republicans call Democrats weak. IT'S BECAUSE YOU FREAKING ARE!!
When Democrats took the majorities of the Senate and the House in November of 2006, your promise to America, YOUR priority (although NOT why you were elected), was to make Washington a more civil place. You pledged to take the high road and not do to the Republicans what the Republicans did to you. Your goal was to show America just how freaking nice you were, and to change the tone in Washington from bellicose to genteel. What you failed to realize is that America doesn't need you to be nice. America needs you to be strong. You've succeeded at being nice. But not at being strong.
'Nice' to Republicans translates as weak, which is NOT the perception you need to cultivate. The fact is, when the Republicans were the majority, their absolute dominance over you made them appear strong and you appear weak. And since your governance hasn't altered that dynamic, they still appear strong and you still appear weak.
You have set the wrong priorities. It's not about being civil to Republicans. It's about salvaging the nation and the world that they have destroyed. You won't save the world by being nice to Republicans. They need to be overruled. They need to be constrained. From the uppermost realms of our government, right on down.
To put your 'kindly' memories into their proper perspective, let us reflect on some key events over the last dozen years of your PERSECUTION by the Republicans:
* There was that lovely day in May 2003 during Hammer-time, when Majority Leader Delay sent a Homeland Security aircraft to chase down Democrats from the Texas House of Representatives.
* There was that lovely day in July 2003 when Republican Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas of California called the Capitol Police to evict Democrats from a committee room.
* There was that lovely day of June 10, 2005 when Republican James Sensenbrenner abruptly shut off the microphones and gaveled to a close the Judiciary Committee Hearing on Patriot Act abuses - in the middle of Democratic testimony.
* There were those lovely times when Democrats held meetings in the basement because Republicans refused to give them space.
* There were the many occasions when Republicans passed legislation at untenable times, in underhanded ways.
For a dozen years the treatment of the Democrats by the Republicans was virulent, suppressive and undemocratic, yet the Republicans were always re-elected. Not being nice cost them NOTHING. To their fellow Republicans, their petulance was strength.
Leading up to the November '06 election, the Democrats seemed assured of victory. If not in the Senate, at least in the House. Democratic voters hoped the new Democratic majority would give the Republicans a taste of their own medicine. But Speaker Pelosi decided that "Democrats don't get even." Democratic voters wished they did.
The Democrats did win their majority in 2006, but the dynamic in both Houses hasn't changed. The Republicans still act like the majority, and the Democrats continue take it. There are some Democrats who do fight back. Senator Leahy, for one. But there are way too many who do not.
The issue of Impeachment is a perfect example of the Democrats' continued submission and acquiescence to Republican propaganda. "Nothing will get done." "It's just an angry act." This is what Independent Senator Bernie Sanders said of the Republican response to an attempt at Impeachment. He said this in a panel discussion at Monday's Take Back American Conference. Senator Sanders is a wonderful progressive, but he still parrots the Republican platform. They've peddled their deceptions well!
Consider the reverse alternative. Understanding how passionate Republican voters are about strength, and the millions who despise Bush and Cheney, what if Democrats assume a position of strength and brazenly push forward toward Impeachment? In this case, the Democrat and Republican voters can BOTH follow suit, bringing their elected officials along. This is just as likely a scenario.
For all intents and purposes, thanks in good part to the dictates of the Democratic leadership, the Democratic majority still appears weak. Pelosi's mandate for civility, her cowardly "impeachment is off the table" pronouncement, and the Democrat's natural gentility (not all, but most) make them coddle Republicans rather than lead them. They won't control them. They just indulge them.
A perfect example of this coddling occurs time and again in Congressman Henry Waxman's critically important House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Waxman, in his capacity as Committee Chair, holds frequent hearings to investigate the misdeeds of the Bush Administration and fulfill the House's oversight requirements. The blatant disrespect he receives from the Republicans on his Committee is embarrassing. Even more embarrassing is the fact that Waxman allows it to occur.
In every hearing I've seen, Waxman's indulgence of these angry, self-important children makes him seem timid and ineffectual. Behind the scenes and beyond the range of CSpan's cameras, Congressman Waxman's effective researchers are building their cases against government impropriety. But in the lens of the camera, Waxman's failure to control his Committee, presents him to the public as weak.
He must crack his whip publicly and strike back at the buffoons who abuse him.
To we progressives, the Republican babies on Waxman's Committee, and on other Congressional Committees, come off as asses. Their behavior is abhorrently juvenile. To Republicans, who judge from a different perspective, they continue to look strong.
Tom Davis, ranking member of Waxman's Committee, is particularly egregious. His crimson rants of 'what are we doing here?' and 'why are we doing this?' mimic a spoiled child. I have never seen a hearing of the Oversight Committee where Davis didn't impede the process. His red-faced quibbling is pathetic. He'd serve the Committee better if he wiled away in a bar, took a laxative, and resigned!
Like ranking members Specter in the Senate and Sensenbrenner in the House, Davis still sulks over the loss of his Chair. As does every ranking member in Washington.
Point of fact, if the Democrats want to hold on to both Houses and win the Presidency in 2008, they had better stop being so fragile. Take the freaking gloves off. Control the children in the chambers. STOP BEING SO DAMN FREAKING WEAK!!!
Linda Milazzo is a Managing Editor of Opednews, Los Angeles based writer, educator and activist. Since 1974, she has divided her time between the entertainment industry, government organizations, community development projects and educational (more...