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Democrats Aren't Wafflers, They're Wifflers


By Dave Lindorff

The Democratic Party is not a bunch of wafflers. They are a bunch of WIFLers.
Let me explain.
If you assume that the Democratic Party leadership is not a bunch of idiots, then the only alternative theory has to be that they think that we are.
How else to explain this continuing failed “policy” of so-called progressive Democrats in Congress of passing terrible legislation and claiming that they will “fix it” later?
The approach seems to have first been developed early in the 1990s, when Bill Clinton came up with his disastrous “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for gays in the military. Everyone knew it was a shameful climbdown from his campaign promise to end discrimination against gays and lesbians in the military, but the claim, and that the policy was doomed to failure, but Clinton and his supporters claimed that they’d “at least” get that lousy policy adopted and then they’d “fix it” later.
They never did.
The same approach was taken to welfare “reform.” Everyone could see that throwing people off of welfare after one five-year stretch in an economy that had no jobs and no childcare to offer was going to create more poverty and hardship, but Democrats promised that before that dire day came, they’d “fix it.”
They never did and poverty rates have soared in America.
Likewise with the Clinton-era “Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act,” which pandered to right-wing clamor for get-tough laws after the Oklahoma City bombing by undermining habeas corpus. “We’ll fix it,” the liberals promised.
They never did, and it paved the way for the vitiation of habeas under President Bush.
Democrats in Congress since 9-11 have continued with this cheap ploy, hoping that by voting for crappy legislation, they can get “cover” from attacks from the right, while hanging on to liberal support with the false promise that later they will “fix it.”
They did this when they provided their overwhelming backing for the USA PATRIOT Act and for its extension. They did it with the Military Commissions Act that seeks to retroactively legalize torture,
And now they’ve done it with the revision—destruction really—of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
In a sense, the Democratic backing for full funding of the Iraq War and occupation through September was the same kind of thing. “We’ll fix this in October,” was the mantra, as they provided Bush with all the money he wanted to keep the slaughter and killing going through the summer.
What makes this “strategy” (if it can even be graced with such a name) so shameless and deceptive is that the Democratic leadership knows that with their slim majority in House and Senate, they don’t have a chance in hell of passing any corrective legislation, any more than they did when they were in the minority. Even with their small majority, if they could manage to pull together enough Democratic and liberal Republican votes to pass a bill, for example, to “fix” the FISA law and bring presidential spying under some kind of oversight, that bill would be vetoed in a flash by the president, with no chance of an override.
And even if, by some miracle, they could assemble a veto-proof majority for a “fix,” this president would simply issue a “signing statement” invalidating the corrective legislation, as he has done now 1200 times to laws passed by Congress.
If Democrats really wanted to stop the accelerating slide into fascism, war and economic peonage for average Americans, they could do it, but only by behaving like a genuine opposition.
In order to put a dictatorship into place, and to further crush the American people into submission, Bush and Cheney need laws passed that increase their power ever further. Congress does not need to pass those laws.
If, instead of passing bad legislation (and pretending that they’re going to “fix” things later), Democrats in Congress used their majorities in the two houses to simply refuse to pass bad legislation, the administration would be stymied.
This would have been true in the case of the war, it would have been true in the case of changes to FISA, and it would have been true for changes in the Insurrection Act and the undoing of the Posse Comitatus Act.
Of course, the sticky point is that to do that, Democrats would have to take a stand on principle—something few in the party have the spine to do, even if the do have principles to stand for.
It is getting pretty late in the game for Congress to call a halt to this march towards dictatorship, but it could still be done.
Americans need to tell their representatives that “fix it later” is not a strategy. It is capitulation and it is a lie, and we are not fooled.
Americans, and especially progressives, need to let these quisling Democrats know that passing bad bills will mean no support in 2008. We simply cannot afford any more of this cowardly behavior by our supposed “leaders.”
Better to see the Democratic Party go down to defeat in 2008, than to simply allow it to be a willing enabler of Republican tyranny, the role the party is playing today.
As President Bush once famously said, “Fool me once…uh…shame on you. Fool me again…uh…”
Well, you know how it goes.
___________________

DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based investigative reporter and columnist. His latest book, co-authored by Barbara Olshansky, is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006 and now available in paperback). His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net

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The traitorious leadership of the Democratic Party know exactly what they are doing, they are just as corrupt as the Republicans. Empress Hillary can not wait to take over the presidency and all the new expanded presidential powers, thanks to Bush and mostly Cheney.

If you want to get some idea of the agenda of empress Hillary and what we have in store for us, just review her draconian socialist communist health care reform proposal of the early Bill Clinton presidency. Her secrecy in the process of drawing up that garbage, and the power it gave to the Federal government would make Dick Cheney proud.

It takes a police state to raise a docile subserviant child.

Heh, if only.
Submitted by at802 on Wed, 2007-08-08 16:15. Are you a member of the John Birch Society?
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=comment/reply/25551/144521

What do you have to say for yourself, at802? Caught you, did we? Go prowl elsewhere, please.

All I see "jaylovestone" doing is nitpicking "at802"'s use of "socialist communist", which likely seems a simple mistaken choice of words to represent "totalitarian". And - especially seeing as how Hilary is acting and talking almost in lockstep with the currently reigning Fascists - I think the truth of the latter is incontrovertible.

Meanwhile, the link inserted by "jaylovestone" simply goes to the comment box, sayng nothing.

So I don't see what "at802" has been "caught" at here - except being a little careless with his choice of phrases.

Am I missing something?

Because I judge "at802" to be pretty much on-the-money in his posts (of which there have been many). The worst I would accuse him of is the occasional, above type carelessness, e.g., the choice of some racist/sexist quips "at802" dropped w/r/t Conyers and Pelosi, with whom he obviously is - like the rest of us, I should note - very angry.

Again, did I miss something?

If not then I would recommend easing up on "at802", who seems to me not at all a "prowler" here but simply another supportive ally.

Semper Fi,

-Matty in Florida

ok, you've convinced me, forget Hillary-care... I'll vote for Dennis "HR 333" Kucinich healthcare plan instead> Singlepayer Universal utilizing not-for-profit insurance companies as choices that are NOT on the stock exchange! Let health needs (Hippocratic Oath) rule costs, not greed motive of stock-holders and brokers from Wall Street!

IMPEACH BUSHCO & RICO PNAC/AIPAC>"OUT" ANTI-AMERICAN CABALS!
http://tinyurl.com/ythqgy

http://tinyurl.com/29lexs

http://tinyurl.com/a8uz9

As a young man I never would have dreamed that one day I would be rooting - as a matter of sincere patriotism - for the utter defeat and humiliation of the Democratic Party ASAP in the next elections.

Not that I was ever a Partisan Democrat nor cheerleader, but I did always think they were at least working to do the right thing - which indicates just how upside-down-crazy this country, and particularly the Democratic Party, has become in the last 30 years that by now I don't in the slightest retain any of that belief any more.

Clearly, Congressional Democrats are "not a bunch of idiots", just exactly as you intimate, and I agree therefore that they surely must be calculating that we are. Boy, have they got another fucking thing coming to them in '08! Perhaps they have an avoidance strategy in rigging the votes.

If so, they will have to rig just about every goddamn vote-count in the country.

Meantime we see (and could have predicted) the sudden appearance here of the likes of this "HippiEagleScout", who - regardless where he or she is actually coming from - must think, just as the Congressional Democrats, that we are indeed stupid.

I for one do indeed take offense at it.

Your article is a perfect response, which we appreciate it accordingly ; THANKS, buddy! Don't change - don't ever stop - and yield them no quarter, Mr. Lindorff!

Semper Fi,

-Matty in Florida

Mr. Lindorff,
I respect your work and perspective in general, but I think there are some serious problems with this piece.

You explain the Democrats' political calculus very well. It's not admirable, but understandable given practical constraints. The middle of the article effectively spells out how Democrats have been checkmated--and they have been for decades. I don't think they are necessarily unwilling to do the right things: it is just that they are not in a position to deliver as long as Republicans retain the power they have. I will grant that some of the compromises you listed at the beginning of the article are inexcusable, but in most cases they were done by Bill Clinton, who was truly a weak leader and genuine sellout: he had Presidential power, but chose to get on his knees for the establishment (the MSM focused on the wrong fellatio). At least now the establishment seems to be weaker than it has been for a very long time, so there is real basis for hope that this time--THIS TIME--things can really change.

Getting back to the critique, your analysis presents one glaring contradiction: you acknowledge that Bush uses signing statements to ignore the will of Congress (i.e., he will do whatever he wants regardless of what the laws and the Constitution say.) But then in the next paragraph you say that Bush needs Congressional action in order to enable his fascist agenda—and that he would be “stymied” without their help. So is Congress relevant to him or not? Clearly, for anyone who has been paying attention, it is not. He does whatever he wants, and his Senate Republicans can and will keep him unaccountable. Checkmate.

But before I get into what I see as the only workable alternative, here is an example that counters your main argument. Democrats were actually able to peel enough Republicans away from Bush to pass a law banning torture. Bush rendered it pointless with his signing statement. So do we blame Democrats for not stopping torture? What else could they do—that would actually work? I repeat, Senate Republicans will not, under any circumstances, vote to remove Bush; all the passion we can muster at this site and beyond will not stop torture, the war or any other of Bush’s egregious power abuses at this time. (Cue the screams that we don't have time to wait: stop the war and fascism NOW, but good luck hearing any alternatives that will actually succeed in getting these results.) Yes, we keep pushing hard for impeachment and informing the public, but let's try to be more understanding of current Democratic leaders if they decide it does more harm than good to the overall cause to engage in an actual impeachment that fails to remove Bush.

In another example, Bush was breaking the old FISA law with impunity, thumbing his nose at Congress all the while. His unnecessary but sudden push for Congressional action on FISA is clearly a devious political stunt. He arrogantly beats his chest at a press conference ordering Congress to pass this unnecessary law. If Congress balks, he has a powerful issue (“proof” that Dems are weak on Security/Terror) for Republicans to exploit in the next election (yes, WE all know it is a bogus issue, but a large number of inattentive voters don’t, and the MSM has a solid track record of making these kinds of things work well enough; to deny this is to conveniently forget recent elections—especially ’88, 2000 & ’04, and to say you simply don’t care about it is to be obstinately self-defeating). If Democrats pass the law in order to take the issue away from Republicans, the left wing and Dem base becomes enraged, which causes them to undermine the Dems or just sit out in disgust. It’s a win-win gambit for Republicans, and people like you and many of this site’s denizens play right into it. Right now, Karl Rove would probably want to plant a big wet one on you, Matty, and others on this site.

What the Republicans REALLY fear is a political sea change: a national climate of liberalism WITH the power to actually act on it (i.e., control of Presidency and Congress WITH a filibuster-proof Senate majority); this would erase all they have gained through fraud and intimidation (supported by big money) over the last 40 years. But this will not be possible if we are not united and committed to the necessary hard work of campaigning and voter registration and turnout.

People on this site dismiss Democrats because they are not doing the “right thing” NOW. But NOW they are checkmated—and there are genuine political perils in trying to do the right thing and losing. I keep saying that, if we (Progressives broadly, not just Dems) don’t win, it is not possible to advance our principles and priorities. If we play our cards right, and we finally gain REAL power, the kind we have not had since (perhaps) the New Deal, then Democrats will, for once, truly have NO EXCUSE. They will HAVE to listen to us and act on our principles and priorities, or their new power will become short-lived. But if we kneecap them as they approach the marathon finish line, as people on this site seem to want, what is the alternative—realistically? Being self satisfied about our purity with no ability to get anything done? This does not sound like a good outcome for truth, justice and all people in general.
--Hippieaglescout

PS, Sorry this is so long.

Love life--not just yours but everyone's, now and in the future; all individual and collective wisdom follows from this simple commandment.

OK Hippie,

Let's start with some background...when William Wallace defeated the much larger
English army in the battle of Sterling down to the last man he was out numbered
by quite a bit...that is a practical constraint!!! But what he did to overcome
tyrany was admirable to say the least. You argue over and over and over that
if we don't elect Democrats we won't see progressive change. Agreed that progressive
change won't come from the Republicans but you assume a fact that has not been established. Which Democrats are going to lobby for this change? Are you asking us to believe that they are just deceiving us until after they get a veto proof majority
and they will pull their masks off and Santa Claus will appear with boxes of Liberty
and Human Rights and Living Wages and Hydrogen Vehicles and all kinds of progressive
presents for the world? Could you do us a favor..?

Please list 5 progressive items that we could count on if the Democrats win...

You then go on to say that you "don't think they are necessarily unwilling to do the right things: it is just that they are not in a position to deliver as long as Republicans retain the power they have.

Well which is it...not unwilling? not in a position? Have they said they are willing?
If not..why assume they are? For who's benifit? Your arguement?

You SAY:

"the Democrats' political calculus.... It's not admirable, but understandable given practical constraints.

Is it understandable? Are their practical constraints? You have repeated what we feel
to be their calculus but all you are saying is "practical" means worrying about 2008
and "understandable" only means if you think that is so important.

To establish this you would have to complete the above requested items and tell me
what indications are coming from whom and what would give you the idea that it will happen.

Contradiction or mis-reading? YOU SAID:

Getting back to the critique, your analysis presents one glaring contradiction: you acknowledge that Bush uses signing statements to ignore the will of Congress (i.e., he will do whatever he wants regardless of what the laws and the Constitution say.) But then in the next paragraph you say that Bush needs Congressional action in order to enable his fascist agenda—and that he would be “stymied” without their help. So is Congress relevant to him or not? Clearly, for anyone who has been paying attention, it is not. He does whatever he wants, and his Senate Republicans can and will keep him unaccountable. Checkmate.

There is a nice little word that helps us to understand reality
it is called both...example...is it a contradiction to say it is day and night?
Depends...it is always day and always night somewhere on the planet.

Bush needs congressional funding...but bush doesn't need them to torture
or spy...it's both!!!

You SAY:

"So do we blame Democrats for not stopping torture? What else could they do—that would actually work? I repeat, Senate Republicans will not, under any circumstances, vote to remove Bush"

Let me ask you Mr. Practical...if your child was being attacked by an animal that you knew you could not stop without losing to the animal...would you not still save your child? Have you heard anyone here say that we only want impeachment if it results in removal? If Impeachment without removal is so dangerous for the next election...
how did Bush steal 2000 right after Clinton? Again..I asked you the other day to reference John Nichols and/or Bruce Fein. Have you done this? No historical basis
to fear a backlash against the Democrats.

So because unprincipled Republicans when faced with overwhelmimg evidence
will never (another assumption) vote to remove...Democrats should not act
with principle? If you knew someone would not say "your welcome" would you not say
"thank you" anyway? Principled people must go against the odds when it's vital.

The ground from which you argue has not shown us how justice will be served
without impeachment. Can you explain that to us?

You SAY:

"let's try to be more understanding of current Democratic leaders if they decide it does more harm than good to the overall cause to engage in an actual impeachment that fails to remove Bush."

So............

I ask why you argue this point? If they decide..let's say..in grave error..
and are plainly wrong...why should we be more understanding?
Everyone here is trying to explain why this is vital regardless of removal...it
is the act itself not the result!! Should we only have sex if it results in a pregnancy? (had to put some humor into this) This is about who we are as a nation..
in our eyes..in the worlds and for our children...this is about the soul of the country...nobody will be upset once CSPAN starts to show the hearings...and I don't
think people being "upset" matters compared to 1,000,000 or so dead!

You say"

"(yes, WE all know it is a bogus issue, but a large number of inattentive voters don’t, and the MSM has a solid track record of making these kinds of things work well enough; to deny this is to conveniently forget recent elections—especially ’88, 2000 & ’04, and to say you simply don’t care about it is to be obstinately self-defeating)"

let me tell you about self-defeating...it is simple to me...your premise...is only
that the Democrats will fix things later...first I dispute your premise on the grounds that you have shown no evidence for that dream.

Second...why don't you educate more people about the bogus issues, then the MSM
would have nobody to listen to them...their time is coming too...the sooner the better.

You SAY:

"What the Republicans REALLY fear is a political sea change: a national climate of liberalism WITH the power to actually act on it (i.e., control of Presidency and Congress WITH a filibuster-proof Senate majority); this would erase all they have gained through fraud and intimidation (supported by big money) over the last 40 years. But this will not be possible if we are not united and committed to the necessary hard work of campaigning and voter registration and turnout."

And the Democrats never gained through fraud or big money? You still see them as that different? Of course their are differences but it's more like dumb and dumber...
Actually...I take it back...they know what they are doing...it;s just not what the PEOPLE want, need or demand. Lesser may be all we get...However...I don't want one more death..or one more right denied to one more innocent person.
And where is that liberalism coming from? Who? What? When? Where? How?

You say:

"But if we kneecap them as they approach the marathon finish line, as people on this site seem to want, what is the alternative—realistically?"

You assume checkmate...do you know the game? Nixon resinged before a trial in the Senate. Somebody could also "blunder"...or maybe it is more like poker and not chess..
Maybe some Republicans are bluffing that they would not vote to remove...but after
seeing the ratings on CSPAN and the promotions on COURT TV...the might keep an open mind?

The alternative...realistically...is to start the House to debate and argue and vote
to impeach Cheney for HIGH CRIMES (forget about the other lesser things...not practical) this would set us on a course for Justice...take it from there...

As Bruce Fein points out..if we don't impeach...the next U.E., I mean president..
I mean U.E.....I mean presi no I uh.....DO YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN?

IT'S THE OFFICE....progressive dictators or regressive dictators...which will you
vote for?

Highlander,
I really appreciate your taking the time to address my points so thoroughly. I can only check in briefly at this time, but will get back to you in the next day or two. Have a good weekend!
--Hippieaglescout

Love life--not just yours but everyone's, now and in the future; all individual and collective wisdom follows from this simple commandment.

Och-aye, our wee "HippiEagleScout" does'n'y ken what a bonnie scrum he's in fer noow, does 'e laddie? LOL

I'll watch and add in anything(s) I think you missed. So far I dinna see a one!

(Meanwhile, just to be prepared for the worst: "Fetchez la Vache!" LOL)

Cheers,

-Matty in Florida

Highlander, saw Moyers' repeat program about impeachment with Nichols and Fein again tonite! Moyers' came on before the encore and stated that the repeat was due to high audience reaction after the first showing in July. I am hoping the momentum continues, and that this particular Bill Moyer's Journal program gets rapidly passed around with links and DVD's eventually to every household in America!!! This program with Fein's emphasis that impeachment is a preventative measure of precedent-setting monarchial "tools" means our LITERAL survival as a Constitutional democratic republic. In other words, Pelosi is a bi-atch! Cheers, yankhadenuf

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2rqww-eOIs

Thanks for the excellent work that everyone is doing. Thanks Matty!

Re: Hippie...I will look forward to an answer to my questions.
I would like facts. I understand your position forwards and
backwards. I would like you to understand ours. Then, if you
still disagree...so be it...that is our right to disagree...
but please give me facts. I hope you are watching or have seen
the Bill Moyers Impeachment Special...with John Nichols and Bruce Fein...it is being re-broadcast tonight on your local PBS station. I would like to know how you feel/think about what they
have to say. I will be looking forward to your response. Please take your time. WE have been around this a few times. I am interested
in your reply. Thanks for your respect.

And Let Us Never Forget....this is about lives and freedom
American Lives, Iraqi Lives, Australian Lives, British Lives
and many many others...and their Freedom as well

IMPEACH REMOVE and F ing INDICT

For all of you who have enjoyed watching an episode of "Cops"
on FOX and felt good when the caught some poor person
stealing money from a newspaper vending machine....

Imagine what the WAR CRIMES TRIAL will look like on COURT TV!!!!
And Remeber...
"What's Good for CSPAN and COURT TV is Good for AMERICA"

Here is the link to Bill Moyers

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/index-flash.html

Tell everyone to watch it!!!

The full transcript is also available...here is an excerpt:

BILL MOYERS: I served a president who went to war on his own initiative, and it was a mess, Vietnam, Lyndon Johnson. There wasn't serious talk about impeaching Lyndon Johnson or Hubert Humphrey. Something is different today.

BRUCE FEIN: Yeah, of course, the-- difference is one thing to claim that, you know, Gulf of Tonkin resolution, was too broadly drafted. But we're talking about assertions of power that affect the individual liberties of every American citizen. Opening your mail, your e-mails, your phone calls. Breaking and entering your homes. Creating a pall of fear and intimidation if you say anything against the president you may find retaliation very quickly. We're claiming he's setting precedents that will lie around like loaded weapons anytime there's another 9/11.

Right now the victims are people whose names most Americans can't pronounce. And that's why they're not so concerned. They will start being Browns and Jones and Smiths. And that precedent is being set right now. And one of the dangers that I see is it's not just President Bush but the presidential candidates for 2008 aren't standing up and saying--

BRUCE FEIN: --"If I'm president, I won't imitate George Bush." That shows me that this is a far deeper problem than Mr. Bush and Cheney.

BRUCE FEIN: Because I think that politics has become debased so that it's a matter of one party against another and jockeying and maneuvering. There is no longer any statesmanship.

BRUCE FEIN: I go back to the real vulnerability and weakness of Congress, that they don't have anybody who can, as a chairman or even asking a question like John or me say, "Mr. Attorney General, you answer that question. This is the United States of America. Transparency is the rule here. We don't have secret government. That's what Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote about in the Gulag. That's not the United States of America. We pay your salary. We have a right to know 'cause it's our duty to decide whether what you're doing is legal and wise, not yours. Answer that question or you're held in contempt right now." And that's-- and all you need is that tone of voice. But what happens up there? "Well, would you please answer?" Well, are you sure? When-- could you get John Ashcroft? I mean, it's just staggering.

JOHN NICHOLS: And you know what?

BRUCE FEIN: All you would need a lecture like that and they'd answer. They'd be embarrassed--And you have to have a certain vision, Bill. You have-- you have to have a certain depth of conviction about philosophy and what the Constitution means, why those people died. They reached that last full measure of devotion, Cemetery Hill, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, the Battle of the Bulge, because there was something higher. You have to feel that in your body and your stomach cause you've mastered all those people who have sacrificed in the past and you know the danger of unchecked power 'cause you read history. You're not a novice. There isn't anybody in the Congress who's able to do that because they don't have that background. But they don't have that temperament.

Please Email this to all concerned...that would be everyone!!!!

IMPEACH...REMOVE...RESTORE AMERICA NOW!!!

Overreaching is another word for madness...does anybody still
want to wait untill 2008 to see who will inherit the throne?
Suggested Chant: "WE WON"T WAIT FOR 2008!!!

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/07132007/transcript4.html

BILL MOYERS: Bruce, you talk about overreaching. What, in practical terms, do you mean by that?
BRUCE FEIN: It means asserting powers and claiming that there are no other branches that have the authority to question it. Take, for instance, the assertion that he's made that when he is out to collect foreign intelligence, no other branch can tell him what to do. That means he can intercept your e-mails, your phone calls, open your regular mail, he can break and enter your home. He can even kidnap you, claiming I am seeking foreign intelligence and there's no other branch Congress can't say it's illegal--judges can't say this is illegal. I can do anything I want. That is overreaching. When he says that all of the world, all of the United States is a military battlefield because Osama bin Laden says he wants to kill us there, and I can then use the military to go into your homes and kill anyone there who I think is al-Qaeda or drop a rocket, that is overreaching. That is a claim even King George III didn't make--

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