Home National Politics Is doing nothing better than caving? Obviously.

Is doing nothing better than caving? Obviously.


The following is a guest column from our old friend Dan, a “front pager” from the RK days.

The Republican Party in the U.S. Congress has a simple strategy:  Force the Democrats to cave or nothing at all gets passed.  They are willing to hold out as long as possible.  You know why?  They aren’t afraid to lose elections.  They aren’t afraid to do what is unpopular.  As long as it benefits the wealthy donors and corporate interests that finance their campaigns, why should they compromise?

Emboldened by the electoral victories in the 2010 mid-term elections, Republicans aren’t afraid of getting voted out of office.  They can do whatever they want without fearing public backlash.

Simply put, their strategy works.

Is it destructive?  Yes.  Does it put America on a fast track to economic ruin? Yes. But that doesn’t matter. No matter how bad the economy struggles, wealthy people and large corporations in America will survive. Why? Because they can sell products overseas and do business overseas. Desperate workers in America simply give them a labor force more willing to accept longer hours, less pay, and reduced benefits.

So, what are the Democrats to do?

They are trying to compromise. Compromise means doing whatever the Republicans want. Move further and further to the right. Abandon their principles. Put the nation greater into debt.

What do the Democrats get in return? Scorn from their party base.  Greater deficits. A show of weakness. Few if any electoral victories.

Do Democrats really think caving will get them re-elected?

It won’t. Caving never does. The Democrats are getting bullied into signing onto to bad policy that will increase the deficit, alienate foreign allies, and create greater problems down the road.  This isn’t bipartisanship, it is ritual suicide!  Why would anyone be inspired to vote for that?  Just because Republicans are worse?  If Democrats go along with Republicans on everything, are they really any better?

Ultimately, Democrats have one option. They have to call the Republicans bluff. If Republicans want to block everything, and Congress shuts down, so be it. If Democrats try to get things passed and Republicans block it, who do you think the American people will blame?  

The Democrats should vote for what they believe is right. No tax cuts for millionaires, and end to DADT, tax credit extensions for renewable energy, the START Treaty (backed by the military establishment and by most conservatives with any military credentials). The list goes on and on of popular stances – like food safety, financial reform implementation, etc, etc.

Put the votes on the floor and let Republicans say no. Stop compromising as Bill Maher says where the Republicans draw a line in the sand further and further to the right and create a new middle. At least Democrats can say they tried. Think of all of the popular legislation Republicans will be on the record as voting against? The Middle Class, the unemployed, 9/11 relief workers, deficit reduction, nuclear disarmament, food safety, the environment! In Missouri, state legislators were even against the humane treatment of puppies!  Seriously puppies: http://www.reuters.com/article…

If the Democrats don’t cave, the EPA will be regulating CO2 under the Clean Air Act. While not ideal, at least that will force large polluters into taking action to reduce emissions. And the Democrats tried to have a less intensive regulatory regime, but Republicans blocked it. Besides, it was placed into law by a conservative Supreme Court.

If taxes go up for everybody, is that the fault of Democrats?  No. The Republicans raised everybody’s taxes. Sure they will blame Democrats, but they have no merit to do so. It is like an arsonist setting a fire and then blaming his neighbor for not putting it out.

Democrats have to get used to the fact that even with huge majorities, legislation will be blocked.  The Republicans have no interest in supporting anything that solves any problems. They want their way, and aren’t afraid to vote against popular legislation to get it. This is the best time to expose them for this craven strategy and put pressure on the Republicans to compromise. This is the only way Democrats can truly get anything done.  

  • Clemgo3165

    Put the tax vote on the floor – or at least as close as they could get it in the Senate – the Republicans and several Democrats have said already said no.  

    I don’t want tax cuts for millionaires, frankly I think they should just let them all expire if they’re really serious about curbing the deficit, but I’m not willing to have an extension of unemployment benefits sacrificed either.  

  • Tom

    We simply cannot continue borrowing trillions of dollars to continue giving even middle class, much less high-income, people a small reduction in the top end of their tax rates.

    One of these days the interest rates will start back up (in fact mortgage rates have gone up slightly in the past week. And when the economy recovers to the point that the prime rate has gone up to even 4-5% the debt service (meaning just paying the interest, never mind paying down the principle) on an additional 4 trillion dollars debt will start to approach 30-40 % of the annual federal revenue. If the interest rate ever reaches 10% like it was in the 1980s when we had 10% interest rate, 10% inflation and 10% unemployment the U.S. Treasury would quickly head into bankruptcy.

    There is no way we can possibly justify borrowing trillons of dollars for no other reason than political theater to pay for continuation of tax cuts that never should have approved in the first place. That kind of b.s. just in attempt to buy votes is grossly irresponsible, contrary to what Jim Webb and Gerry Connolly have been claiming as their excuse for not just letting the BUSH tax cuts expire.


  • Teddy Goodson

    of the major global corporations appears to be to create chaos, total economic collapse, and, if not breakup of the federal union, then its trivialization—- they will then have to deal only with much weaker and poorer states individually, while their own elites live in protected gated communities or comfortably overseas.

    If we can see this as a likely outcome of continuing the present machinations of the GOP and their agitprop division at Fox, then surely so can the corporate/Wall Street elites….OR, it might be that, like many past elites, they are so intent on feeding off the wealth of the decaying empire that they are too short-sighted to understand what they are bringing upon us and, ultimately, themselves. We have a lot of wealth still to go in America, they want it all, and think they can get it all before everything goes dark. So thought the French aristocracy before Robespierre, so thought the Tsarist aristocracy before Kerensky and then Lenin. (See Bernie Sanders’ speech. in my diary today)

    America has a lot of resilience and a heritage of freedom, so we may pull out of this downward spiral. What gives me pause is the enormous amount of power and modern technology in the hands of the elite, not to mention psychological insight. The elites have bamboozled their middle class victims into being allies in their own destruction; they have purchased the votes of our elected representatives, corrupting almost all; and they have co-opted the political and economic philosophy which underlies the workings of our democracy, so they are in control of the leadership of both political parties. In other words, it does not look good for the near future. Unless, of course, the Democrats suddenly remember their heritage and…. oh, never mind.    

  • KathyinBlacksburg