Archive - 2010

January 21st

Climbing Out Of The Masshole

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Today is not a good day to be a Democrat. Not because we lost the supermajority, though. Giving the Democrats a supermajority was like giving a lazy person a treadmill. Sure, they need it. Sure, they could improve things if they use it. But you and I both know the damn thing is going to sit in a corner, buried in piles of Christmas wrapping paper, until it gets carted off in a garage sale. And so it was with the 60-vote supermajority. I won't miss it.

No, what sucks about today is watching the entire Democratic party go on television and act like a frenzied, panicked, lifeboat passenger. Punching and kicking and screaming and flailing at their fellow passengers. All for the privilege of climbing back aboard the fucking Titanic because they forgot their keys. And no, you cliched pundit motherfuckers, it's not a "circular firing squad". A circular firing squad requires a level of aiming skill and geometric knowledge that today's Democratic Party is simply incapable of.

It seems like every single asshole with a (D) after his name is getting five minutes on cable news. to say what he thinks should happen next, and every single one of them is saying something different. If only there were some sort of high-ranking Democrat in a position of authority who could tell them all to shut the fuck up, and make a clear, concise statement as to what direction the (still the goddamned majority) party is going next. You know, some kind of leader. Maybe a president of some sort.

Since that clearly isn't happening, I might as well help to fill the void. Since having sixty votes didn't work at all, trying to go from 59 to 60 by appealing to the bipartisan goodwill of a moderate Republican won't work either. Especially since that phrase is semantically equivalent to "appealing to the humanitarian better nature of a tolerant Klans-unicorn". Sixty is out. But fifty is doable. You can peel off enough Blue Dogs to get to 50 on a regular basis. Unfortunately, the Democrats have spent the past year acting like 60 is the natural state of things. It's not. It's a freakish aberration that only got pulled out during judicial nominations until three years ago, when Democrats took control of Congress. So how do you make 50 viable again? I have a cunning plan.

STEP ONE: SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Seriously, would it kill you people to spend 24 hours with your yaps shut while you get your story straight? Or at least spin meaninglessly in the same general direction? The message is the medium, people. The Republicans were ready out of the gate to declare the Scott Brown victory to be a "revolution", a Teabagger's wet dream, and the death knell for Democrats. Unfortunately, at least a dozen Democrats were also ready out of the gate to declare the same damn things.

STEP TWO: START WRITING LAWS.

But not the way you've been writing them. Instead, start writing simple laws that stupid people will understand. Laws that sound like they'll provide free cake to the masses if they pass. No 2,000 page bills. No corporate lobbyist input. Simple, red-meat populist stuff. Do this without the slightest expectation that they will pass, because they won't. And they won't pass, because they won't get 60. But that's OK, because their NOT passing is vital for Step Three.

STEP THREE: BLAME THE FILIBUSTER.

Repeat after me. "We had the votes to pass the Free Cake Act of 2010, but Senate Republicans wouldn't let it come to an up or down vote, because Senate Republicans don't want you to have free cake. Senate Republicans are in the pocket of Big Crocker, and they're using procedural tricks to protect their corporate friends." Do this over and over again. As often as you can manage. Bring up a bill that sounds great - anti-bank measures, anti-Wall-Street measures, pro-homeowner stuff, middle class stuff, job stuff. It doesn't even need to be sound policy. It just needs to sound simple, populist, and seem like middle-class people will get something out of it.

Then you blame the living shit out of the filibuster for why they didn't get it. You turn the filibuster into Satan, and the Republicans who use it to keep everyone from getting free cake as Satan's faithful servants. This stuff needs to start, essentially, immediately. Because it needs to happen as often as possible before we can start Step Four.

STEP FOUR: RUN ON IT.

The Democrats' platform for 2010 should be simple. We tried to give you cake. The Republicans used the filibuster to keep you from getting cake. Therefore, if elected, we will end the filibuster.

Democrats can end the filibuster with 51 votes. Or weaken it. I'd suggest leaving it in place for judicial nominations, since you can still demonize obstructionism there enough to get the vote to the floor, and you might need it to keep a crazy motherfucker off the Supreme Court in the future. But run on ending the filibuster. Frame it as ending gridlock and getting things done, and if you have a big long list of simple, popular, effective things you could have gotten done if it hadn't been for those meddling 41 kids, then that shit sells itself.

You don't want to do anything? Fine. You can spend a year doing nothing at all. That'll make you happy, and that'll make the lobbyists happy. But if you're going to do nothing, you need to spend all the time you're saving by doing nothing at least PRETENDING to do something. Voters want you to look busy, and they want you to look like you're trying to give them stuff. And if you can't give them stuff, then you damn well better make sure they blame someone else for it, because otherwise, you'll be out on your asses this time next year. And then we'll be even MORE fucked.