Sunday, September 23, 2007

Beltway Madness: Why Any Democrat Just Won't Do

Why are Congressional Democrats so worthless? I don't mean just DINOs like Joe Lieberman and Ben Chandler (D, KY-6). I mean supposed liberals like Dianne Feinstein, veterans like Jim Webb, presidential candidates like Hillary Clinton.

Why do they do it? Why do they spit in the face of the Democrats who voted for them? Why do they shit on the Constitution? Why do they turn their backs on America's Best and Bravest who are dying for no reason in the Iraqi desert?

Today Glenn Greenwald in Salon comes up with a new theory of Beltway Madness that explains votes that remain mysterious under all other theories.

Glenn's theory also emphasizes the critical importance of ensuring that the only Democrats permitted to reach Congress are true progressives who have not yet been co-opted by Beltway Madness.

Read whole thing, but here are the money grafs:

In this regard, she (Feinstein) really symbolizes a major imbalance in the Washington political system. The right-wing Republicans in Congress have an affinity with their base and share the same basic values. One saw that quite vividly in the recent immigration debate, where most Congressional Republicans -- particularly the "conservative" ones -- embraced rather than ran away from their angry, impassioned base by blocking enactment of the immigration bill which the GOP establishment favored but which the right-wing base hated. Most conservative Senators sided with their base over the GOP establishment, as they usually do when there is a split (Harriet Miers, Dubai Port Deal, even steadfast support for the Iraq War). And they rarely repudiate the political value system of their base because they respect it and share it.
By very stark contrast, most (though certainly not all) Democrats in Congress -- particularly the most influential and longest-serving ones in the Senate like Feinstein -- have contempt for their base and share virtually none of their values. In March of last year, I had an e-mail exchange with the spokesperson for a key Democratic Senator on the Intelligence Committee regarding how bloggers and their readers could work more closely with Democratic Senators to highlight the need for the NSA lawbreaking scandal to be investigated and taken more seriously. Ultimately, they made clear that they wanted nothing to do with actual citizens who were eager to bring that situation about, as I was told:
I think there is an opportunity for us to figure out a better way to work together. But, you have to understand, my ultimate goal is to help [the] Senator achieve his objective of real oversight on national security matters by the Intelligence Committee.
Even with the best of intentions, I'm not convinced that bloggers can help us meet that goal. In fact, I worry about it hurting our efforts given the increasingly partisan environment.

As Digby said yesterday of Senate Democrats: "it surely seems true that they loathe the Democratic base as much as the Republicans do."

Right now, only John Yarmuth of Louisville's Third District is genuinely representing Kentucky Democrats.

I'm telling my fellow progressives to get serious about recruiting REAL Democrats for the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, and yes, Sixth District Congressional races next year, not to mention Mitch's Senate seat.

Let's find the Sixth's District's John Yarmuth or Andrew Horne. Let's support a REAL Democrat who will take on Ben Chandler.

As we have seen over the past 8 months, Democrats In Name Only are not enough. America is teetering on the edge of genuine disaster, and only Real, Progressive Democrats can save us.

Cross-posted at BluegrassRoots