December 16, 2014


The Great Budget Sellout of 2014: Do We Even Have a Second Party? (ROBERT KUTTNER, DECEMBER 16, 2014, American Prospect)

[I]n the great budget sellout of December 2014, fully 57 House Democrats voted with the Republicans to narrowly pass this deal. Key Senate Democrats close to Wall Street, such as Chuck Schumer of New York, were its enablers.

In the end game, President Obama, continuing his signature fighting style, blinked first. He evidently feared that another government shutdown would be blamed more on him than on the Republicans; or that even worse would be in store after January. The Republicans, once again, played chicken and prevailed.

So we were treated to a spectacle of the Democrats being split several ways, both on ideology and on tactics. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, a progressive, after sending mixed signals earlier in the week, decided that the bill had to be opposed. But President Obama, his chief of staff Denis McDonough, along with Pelosi's more conservative second-in-command, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, actively lobbied Democrats to back the deal. So, in the end, the 57 House Democrats--about one-third of the caucus--joined 162 Republicans to narrowly pass the budget.

Meanwhile, over on the Senate side, the Democrats split as well. Only six Democratic progressives, led by Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, voted against cloture. Then, once the bill was assured of passing, several Wall Street-friendly Democrats from relatively liberal states cast a crocodile-tears record vote against, such as Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Cory Booker of New Jersey.

So, while the Democratic Party should be carrying the banner of working families, making it clear that the rules are rigged against regular people and that Republicans are the riggers-in-chief, the reality is far more blurred. The Democrats not only lost this vote on issues they allegedly care about; they lost their role as a credible opposition.

To be the credible opposition in the 21st Century Anglosphere, you need to be the more Third Way party, not the most 1st Way or most 2nd Way.

Posted by at December 16, 2014 2:43 PM

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