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Time to Humble Congressional Warlords

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The March 10 NY Times reports that "the Democratic barons of Congress plan to make a few trifling deletions from the president's budget in order to please the special interest that keep them on their thrones--deletion of provisions such as limiting tax deductions for the wealthiest 1.2 percent (Sen Max Baucus D. Montana, Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D. New York); cutting subsidies to wealthy agribusiness (Sen. Kent Conrad, D. North Dakota). There's more, lots more, but you get the idea.

A significant number of congressional crustaceans don't get it even yet: we are fed up with protecting those wealthy enough to buy that protection at the expense of all the rest of us.

And they haven't yet got the clue that the mechanisms of congressional accountability have been changed by the Internet. We can now handily track their votes and their campaign contributors. We can contribute small sums from millions of donors to any candidate anywhere in the country who stands up to oppose them. And we can kick them out, even when they're well-entrenched. (Just ask Gordon Smith R - Oregon, retired).

Okay, we don't have an election until 2010, and only one third of the senate is running even then. But everyone's time will come in due course. And what can we do in the meantime?

*    Follow President Obama's budget through the congressional labyrinth and identify the senators and reps who obstruct its progress--especially for their own purposes.
*    Bombard them with e-mails and phone calls--enough so that the more intelligent of them, at least, begin to see the light.
*    Wither them with scathing blog posts, to keep their misdeeds fresh in folks' minds.
*    Find progressive challengers to stand up to them.

And when election time approaches, support those white knights with money, time, and work.

The Poohbahs of media, Wall Street, big industry, and congress are all trying to peck the president to death like a thousand ducks. We elected Mr. Obama to change the way things work. Their mission is to keep things the same. We can't let them succeed.

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A career writer and media maven, Jim Stinson is the author of four mystery novels and a college textbook, Video: Digital Communication and Production. His newest novel, Tassy Morgan's Bluff, will be out from Penguin Books in June 2011. He lives with (more...)
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