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Why Be Afraid of Filibusters or Vetoes

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Message Stephen Crockett


This writer fails to understand why Democratic officeholders in the US House and Senate are not actively seeking situations where Republicans resort to filibustering popular Democratic legislation and situations where Bush vetoes similar measures. The benefits in political terms for Democrats far outweigh the risks and good legislation might just get enacted into law.

If nothing else positive happens, Democrats at least would raise the public awareness of issues that need addressed. Democrats should go on the offensive and start controlling the discussion of public issues.

Democrats should not have voted to continue funding the Iraq War without timetables for withdrawing our troops. Democratic activists are very disappointed that Congressional Democrats did not respond aggressively to the propaganda of the Bush Republicans. The Democratic proposals DID FUND THE TROOPS WHILE ESTABLISHING TIMETABLES FOR WITHDRAWAL!

The polling data supports this Democratic position by overwhelming margins. Democrats and independents are almost universally supportive of continued funding AND timetables for withdrawal. Only Republicans support Bush Republican policies on Iraq War funding. Abandoning the majority opinion and caving to the Bush Republicans make Congressional Democrats look weak. It was both bad policy and very bad politics.

The Corporate Media reported predictable Republican Spin comments by John McCain attacking his fellow Senators Clinton and Obama for supporting the views of the majority of Americans on the issue. The Corporate Media engaged in endless speculation that the votes by Clinton and Obama against continued Iraq War funding without withdrawal timetables would hurt their Presidential campaigns in the general election. Nothing could be farther from reality.

McCain really hurt his Presidential aspirations with his vicious comments. McCain is no longer viewed by informed observers as an “independent” or “maverick” Republican. He is now almost universally viewed as a “sell-out” or “Bush-lite” candidate. Iraq along with McCain’s slavish support for the Bush Administration’s position on the pending immigration position has likely doomed his bid for the Presidency. It is very unlikely that that McCain will get the Republican nomination. It is even less likely that McCain can defeat any of the major Democratic contenders.

Congressional Democrats should push aggressively to pass a whole series of pro-worker legislation. American workers have seen their slice of the American economic pie decline for almost a generation. They are angry and disillusioned. Many are not voting because they do not see enough courage of conviction by elected Democrats when it comes to helping working Americans.

Democratic politicians should relish opportunities to support the Employee Free Choice Act, passing living wage legislation, curtailing “so-called” free trade deals, re-regulating the energy industry, pushing for single-payer universal health care, punishing and criminalizing price-gouging, bringing back usury laws, putting new teeth in anti-monopoly policies and returning the government to the role of economic guardian of the average citizen instead of the economic elite. Voters would love to see Republicans trying to argue and filibuster against these proposals. Republicans would be severely punished at the polls for actions blocking these measures. Democrats would gain at the polls for showing courage and taking action.

Democrats should push forward laws that return the Fairness Doctrine and Equal Time provisions to broadcasting. The public supports these positions and would reward Democrats for trying to do something about the current unjust situation.

Congressional Democrats need to demonstrate courage to stand up against the Corporate elite otherwise known as the Republican Party leadership. The public is with the Democrats on the issues. When it comes to filibusters or vetoes, our motto should be the same as that of Davy Crockett “make sure you are right and then go right ahead.”


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Stephen Crockett is co-host of Democratic Talk Radio and author of the Democratic Voices opinion column.
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