And now the rant shall commence…
What the hell happened to the Democratic Party? Anyone? In terms of the political spectrum, we now have the GOP on the far right, the Democrats to the right of center, and Dennis Kucinich on the left. That is it.
Look, with the majorities the donkeys hold in Washington, one might expect them to be able to dictate the legislative agenda and its ensuing debates, particularly on health care. But all they have managed to do is dilute a plan for comprehensive health care reform, completely botch the plan’s introduction and subsequent “getting to know you” in the public, granted concession after concession to the health care industry, and compromised some of the most important aspects of reform to garner Republican support. And on that last point, despite their many concessions, they still failed to get a single Republican to vote for any bill. But that still has not deterred them from seeking their support. Seriously? The Republicans did not try this hard in the Bush years, mostly because they did not have to since the Democrats rolled over then, too.
This past week saw two amendments to Baucus’s bill, both dealing with a public option, fail in the Senate Finance Committee. Five Democratic senators on the committee voted AGAINST the amendments. And Baucus has apparently received a fair share of money from the health care industry, so it should not be too surprising that he did not allow the amendments to pass. Then we have the self-proclaimed moderate “Blue Dog Democrats”, who advocate for fiscal responsibility. Unless, of course, it comes to voting for two wars and a Medicare prescription plan that was NOT paid for. I guess lives lost in other countries is worth supporting, but saving lives in this one is not. The Republicans in Congress are not even putting forth serious and credible counter-arguments (though they are out there if you know where to look), and they are still winning. With the majorities in Washington the Democrats enjoy, it should not have been a question of whether a bill would pass, but how progressive it would be. And yet, here we are. Pathetic.
There are probably so many reasons why our two political parties are practically identical when it comes to economic and/or corporate issues. And make no mistake: The Health Care Industry is most concerned with profits, not health care. One is that corporate money flows freely to both parties so there is little incentive to upset the status quo, and because every legislator worries about re-election, money talks. Another possibility is that our politicians are becoming more conservative, or attempting to legislate in such a manner, either because they are factually more conservative or because they fear the conservative public. A reason for this may be due to the fact that it seems to be increasingly important that our elected leaders be Christian (or hold themselves out as such), and the leaders within the Christian political movement tend to be very conservative. In addition, the MSM tends to give a lot of air time to extremist viewpoints, which tend to be voiced more loudly from the right. So, despite numerous polls showing a majority of Americans want reform, and doctors and the public alike both favor a public option, their wishes are being sold out because the Democrats are too scared to upset FOX News, the Tea Party, and the ill-informed, hypocritical constituents they encountered over the summer at the town halls.
I am getting off-track, sorry. I am simply frustrated by the party’s inability to get anything done. And I will not even go into some of the atrocious policies from the previous administration that the current one seems to want to continue (Glenn Greenwald over at Salon is doing a good job of that). The party of “No”, despite getting their butts handed to them last November, are still in control in Washington. This despite their complete lack of substance, direction, and in some circles, reason and sanity. What does that say about our politics and the state of the Democratic Party? I’ll tell you what it says to me: The cartoonist who attributed the donkey to the Democrats was spot on. They are asses.