Dear Gawd! Didn’t you think that when a fed-up country flipped control of BOTH houses of Congress in 2006 that we would FINALLY see a change in the disastrous Conservative policies of the past 26 years? And when voters, with their eyes slowly opening like 2-week old puppies, began to realize that Republicans were responsible for the current economic mess, increased that Democratic majority AND added to it a Democratic president promising “Change“, that things would FINALLY start to get done? And when the long-dragged out battle for Minnesota’s Senate seat finally gave us a 60-seat Super Majority, and the media was calling Democrats “unstoppable”, EVERYTHING that this country so desperately needs would pass at lightning speed? Didn’t you think that too?

<Sigh> Reality is setting in.

As always, Comedy Central’s Daily Show pointed out this sad irony last week:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Democratic Super Majority
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I belong to no organized political party. I’m a Democrat.” – humorous Will Rogers (circa 1924). As true today as it was 85 years ago.

At the end of the Bush Administration, I often pointed out that while Democrats may control both houses of Congress, there are more Conservatives than “Liberals” running the show. Forty-eight Republicans plus “Democrats” Max Baucus (D-MT), Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and “Independent” Joe Lieberman (I-CT) gave them a 51 vote Conservative majority in the Senate. And with Bush controlling the White House, Conservatives still controlled two-thirds of the government… explaining why… despite Democratic control of Congress… nothing was getting done.

Well, Bush is now gone, and eight of those Republican Senate seats have turned blue. Yet STILL Conservatives seem to control Congress. Despite polls that show “65% of Americans favor a public option“, Conservatives continue to repeat the claim that “the majority of Americans oppose government-run healthcare” and therefore oppose the public option (the two have NOTHING to do with one another).

Last week, “Blue Dog” Max Baucus voted against the public option specifically citing his belief that 60 votes were unattainable as his reason to vote against it. Did I hear someone say “self fulfilling prophecy”???

I have an idea: How about actually voting for a bill based on its merits and not whether or not you think it can get 60 votes? Maybe if you and your buddies that are so concerned about that “60 vote majority” ACTUALLY VOTED for the bill, you might see that you are not nine votes shy of 60 but actually closer to just three necessary to simply defeat a Republican filibuster.

Keep in mind that we don’t need 60 votes to PASS healthcare reform with a strong Public Option, only 50 (plus Biden to tie-break). We only need 60 votes to override a filibuster that would prevent it from even coming to a vote. And once it does, it only takes 51 votes to pass the most sweeping healthcare reform bill since Medicaid passed (using Reconciliation) 44 years ago. Republicans only have 40 votes (41 if you include Lieberman, the surest “non-Republican” Republican vote in the Senate). So it is simply a matter of preventing Democrats from filibustering their own party’s bill.

The key here is to convince these “”Blue Dogs” that, despite how they may feel about the bill, LET IT AT LEAST COME TO A VOTE. Democrats have no business voting with Republicans to block a Democratic bill supported by a Democratic president. And they REALLY have no business deciding for the other 51 Democratic Senators whether they can even do what their constituencies voted them in to do.

President Obama needs to take a much more active roll in all this and make his desire for a strong Public Option known. It’s time to stop trying to appease the unappeasable, resulting in NOTHING getting done (cue the ubiquitous Saturday Night Live sketch of Obama acknowledging that NONE of his promised “liberal agenda” has passed since taking office.)

It is a presidents’ job to tell members of his own Party: “This is what I want. Make it happen.” You put pressure on those you think can be turned to vote in your favor, and threaten those who won’t with diminished access or support. YES we have an opposition party that would love to defeat the president on something he openly supports. But WE HAVE THE MAJORITY… A SUPER MAJORITY AT THAT. And that’s why it is so important for Democrats to stick together like Republicans and… at the very least… allow Democratic bills to come up for a vote. If the outcome is a success for the country, as a Democrat, you’ll benefit even if you opposed it. If the result is a failure, you can then campaign on your “No” vote. It’s a Win/Win, “blue dogs”. But voting with Republicans to defeat a Democratic bill? I’m sorry guys, but if the next election in your state is between a Republican and a Democrat that ACTS LIKE a Republican, the Republican wins every time. Lose/Lose.

This isn’t rocket science. The only people standing between Democrats and healthcare reform are Democrats… Democrats that have nothing to win and everything to lose by voting like Republicans at a time when Republican approval ratings are a mere 19%. Even with their approval rating in the toilet and vastly out numbered in the Senate, Republicans always find a way to control the debate. Are Republicans “that good” or are Democrats simply “that bad”? Will Rodgers was so right.


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