By Steven D on 9/23/2007, 3:44pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Steven D of Booman Tribune

I don't mean to be rude, but what the hell is going on?

No impeachment proceedings, despite the Kucinich Impeachment Articles languishing in the House? A refusal to make the Republican Senators filibuster the Webb amendment that would have required a mandatory year's rest between deployments to Iraq or Afghanistan (which wasn't even an antiwar bill, but one crafted specifically to support the troops)? Twenty two Democratic Senators voting to condemn for exercising their right to free speech? No strategy for ending this war other than a vain hope to "peel away" a few "moderate" Republicans? Mealy-mouthed explanations for why nothing gets done?

I'd like to support the Democratic leadership in the Senate and the House, I really would, but so far I see nothing that I can, in all honesty, point to as a significant action by our leadership in support of a progressive agenda...

Indeed, I see the tacit acquiescence by Democrats in the suppression of voices of dissent. For example, we watched the other day as a nonviolent black peace activist (Rev. Yearwood) was brutalized by Capitol Hill Police and arrested (and other peace activists arrested with him) merely for trying to attend an open hearing on General Petraeus's testimony, without any cause or justification. I find it hard to believe that the Dem leadership could not have done something to prevent that abuse of law enforcement.

We have the spectacle of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer calling out Rep. Moran and demanding he apologize for merely stating, in an interview granted to a the Jewish publication Tikkun Magazine, that AIPAC has far to much influence and power over Democratic Congressional members, influence it exercises through raw intimidation.

We have a line item in a supplemental defense appropriations bill in the House removed back in April of this year because it demanded that the President fulfill his constitutional duty and seek authorization from Congress before attacking Iran unilaterally.

We have rollover after rollover by our Democratic Leaders in the House and Senate on restoring Habeas Corpus, amending the FISA law to make wireless surveillance of American citizens even more likely, the reinstitution of the Patriot Act, etc.

And then 22 Democratic Senators, more afraid of being condemned on Fox News than doing the people's business, abandon us on votes like the fiasco, and the vote on the Lieberman amendment condemning Iran (did that really have to be passed by a vote of 97-0?), which frankly gives cover to everyone in the Bush administration (Dick Cheney come to mind?) who would like to start another "preventive" war with Iran over spurious and unproven allegations.

What the hell did we elect Democrats for if this is what we are getting in return for our votes?

Every day on numerous blogs I see the frustration of those of us who supported Democrats to the hilt in the last 3 election cycles with our activism, money, blogging, and volunteering for Democratic campaigns around the country. Without us, it's safe to say the Democratic victories last Fall would have been much less substantial in the House, and likely would not have happened at all in the Senate.

So what gives? Why are our voices and concerns being dismissed and ridiculed by the very people we worked so hard to bring to power?

As one of the people who has dedicated myself to helping Democrats win elections, running interference for them on all the blogs to which I post regularly, contributing money I don't have, and working to ensure that every vote gets counted (I was in Cleveland with Election Protection in 2004), I feel entitled to some answers that aren't the same old tired line of "we're doing the best we can, be patient, blah, blah, blah..." Because frankly I and much of the progressive blogosphere's readership don't buy the excuses we are being offered --- as the extremely low approval ratings for Congress (primarily among Democrats if you break out the numbers) make clear.

You may interpret this as a rant if you wish, but it expresses a very real and common sentiment among millions of loyal Democrats and Democratic voters who feel it wasn't Moveon who "betrayed us" with their ad, but our Dem leaders who failed to stand up to the right wing bullies in the media, at the White House, and on Capitol Hill. Indeed, I still keep hearing about Democratic strategies by Harry Reid and others to work with Republicans and Bush to craft a "bipartisan approach" to Iraq. What the hell is that?

Republicans don't do bipartisanship (something only a deaf, dumb, and blind person wouldn't have noticed by now), so why are Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi still acting like dupes and useful idiots for an administration that continues to shaft them every chance it gets?

The slogan last year was "We can do better," right? Well, why isn't anyone trying to "do better" now that we control Congress? All I see is an avalanche of failures with few, if any, successes, and most of those have been of the pyrrhic variety.

Yes, Gonzales is out as Attorney General, but the investigations into corruption in the Department of Justice have stalled. In like manner, investigations into the Valerie Plame affair have died, and I see no movement on any investigations relating to the illegal political activity (can anyone say Hatch Act violations?) of Karl Rove and his minions. Worst of all, no one is investigating what the President and Vice President knew about the lies that were told to take us to war, lies which by my reckoning deserve impeachment proceedings as soon as possible.

Instead, we are watching as too many Democrats in Congress opt to play defense, hoping that by not doing anything to change the status quo now, they will reap the electoral benefits next year of the public's dissatisfaction with the Bush regime. A more cynical and reprehensible strategy I cannot imagine while our troops are dying in Iraq, Osama Bin Laden is threatening to overturn the government of the one Islamic nation with nuclear weapons, and Vice President Cheney and his neoconservative allies are chomping at the bit to widen the war in the Middle East by attacking Iran and possibly Syria as well.

Billions of dollars are being funneled into the pockets of hundreds of corrupt GOP connected corporations like Halliburton, Blackwater, Bechtel Corporation, etc., while at home our critical infrastructure is literally crumbling, people are being denied critical health care (whether they have insurance or not) and the poor of New Orleans are still living in toxic FEMA trailer camps while their damaged homes and communities remain unlivable with no plans to ever reconstruct them.

I'm sorry, but I don't have any more patience for the grand and glorious Democratic revolution which will allegedly come into being magically on Inauguration Day in January of 2009. That's a long way off, and a lot can change before the Democratic ponies arrive, particularly if the Democrats in Congress continue to act as if they are powerless to confront the most unpopular president in a generation. I'm tired of the excuses and political calculations by the people we elected in 2006 to change the course. Aren't you?

Cross-posted at Booman Tribune...

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