While we’re all basking in the glory of yesterday’s victory, here’s something to unbask in the dissipating glory. Steve Israel, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, was interviewed on NPR this morning and promptly confirmed that entitlements reform will be on the table, specifically Medicare but I’m sure Medicaid and Social Security will find themselves in the pot as well.
Why the hell is it the FIRST thing out of these “Democrats’” mouths is agreement with Republicans on entitlement reform before the negotiations even begin? Oh yes, he’s also talking spending cuts but then added the Democrats would also try to seek new revenue from closing tax loopholes for the rich, and from ending farm and oil subsidies.
Talking about entitlement reforms wouldn’t irk me if only Democrats would stop calling them entitlements but call them what they actually are–earned benefits. Bernie Sanders gets it–why can’t Israel? And John Warner. And Harry Reid. And Barack Obama.
Earned benefits reform is the last thing that should be put on the table, especially after the damage the sequester continues to inflict on low income persons with/without families, and this latest Republican government shutdown debacle. Increase revenue first, then talk spending cuts and reform.
I love it when “progressive” Democrats put me down for stating that there’s not much difference between Democrats and Republicans because then Harry Reid goes and proves me right. Actually, Reid also proves the BIG difference between Democrats and Republicans: with the Republicans, you know what you’ve got. They are overtly destructive to the middle class and you can see through their every lie. The Harry Reid Democrat talks about introducing liberal legislation but that’s as far as he goes—just talk. Dianne Feinstein got the assault weapons bill out of committee with great fanfare. The majority of Americans are on record as supporting a total ban on assault weapons. So what does Reid do? He refuses to bring the bill up for a vote in the Senate. Why? Because he claims he only has 40 votes and not the 60 required to end a filibuster. And why is there still a filibuster in the Senate? Because Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, left it in place despite all the calls from liberal Senators to have it eliminated.
Oh sure, Reid may introduce the assault weapons ban as an amendment to another bill the Senate Republicans may be forced to vote for, but he knows any gun control legislation is DOA in the House, so once again he looks like a good guy instead of the weasely wimp that he is.
Why would he do this? Because Harry Reid is a lousy and incompetent Majority Leader. In the House, Speaker John Boehner typifies how the GOP frames itself. He’s just as incompetent as Reid, but he projects the image visually and aurally of a politician at the peak of his power, which in a way is true because the Tea Party still controls the House as it gives him his marching orders. In fact, the Republicans ALWAYS act as if they’re in power. With Reid, he always acts—or refuses to act—as if he’s AFRAID of losing power. It’s his timidity that is projected loud and clear visually and aurally. But in his case, he may be the Senate Majority Leader but it is clearly the coalition of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the fake Democrats who control the Senate.
Reid has FIFTY-THREE Democrats in his Senate, and he can only convince FORTY of them to vote for the assault weapons ban. Fake Democrats like Heidi Heitkamp , Max Baucus and Mark Pryor may be proud of their pro-gun stance and their Republican-friendly stance on other major issues, but some other stealth fake Democrats get just plain worried about having their names linked to a “No” vote on banning assault weapons, especially with 2014 looming ever closer. If Reid keeps the filibuster in place, these phonies are spared the embarrassment of revealing their right wing natures to their possibly more liberal constituents since the vote will be blocked by the Republican filibuster. A real majority leader would tell the fake Democrats to either toe the party line or get used to not getting any prestigious committee assignments or pork for their home states. The only choice left to those phony Democrats would be to switch parties and take their chances with the voters in the next election. But Harry Reid isn’t a real majority leader.
Another handy use of the filibuster is that enables Reid the opportunity to position himself as a Democrat, to excoriate the Republicans for acting like Republicans, and to otherwise do absolutely NOTHING in the way of bringing Democratic legislation to the floor of the Senate. It’s all for show and—that’s all, folks!
Reid is too much of a chicken heart to employ the tactic of introducing the assault weapons ban to the Senate and then sitting back and allowing the Republicans to preen and filibuster it until it is dead. Let the Republicans take the hit come 2014 for their blocking of stricter gun ownership laws and their focus on pushing anti-abortion ones.
Trouble is, there are fellow Democrats who might be forced to publicly take sides during the filibuster, and we wouldn’t want to embarrass our fellow Democrats by having them unmask themselves to the national electorate as the gun nuts their constituents already know they are, would we? Hence, the safe protection of the filibuster which also enables Harry Reid to do absolutely nothing and get plenty well for not doing it. Lyndon B. Johnson may have been a scoundrel, but he knew how to get Democrats to be DEMOCRATS and pass laws that would benefit the country as a whole. With a Democratic majority in the Senate, no Democrat crossed him and no Republican caused much trouble if they knew what was good for them, professionally and personally. If Reid had been Senate Majority Leader in the sixties, we wouldn’t have to worry about cuts to Medicare and Medicaid because neither program would exist. I’d hate to think what other programs—Social Security—would also not be around had Reid been head of the Senate in 1935.
At least with Republicans you know what you’ve got: they intend to cut all social programs out of existence. With Reid, he talks about protecting social programs and then agrees to start implementing these same cuts behind closed doors.
What it means to be a Republican: What it means is that you work to keep unemployment over 8% to unseat the first Black president of the United States. What it means is that you belong to the party which shipped American jobs overseas throwing American workers out of work.
What it means is that after you lost these people these jobs you not only made sure they couldn’t easily find new ones, you also cut (with the able assist of the Democrats and President Obama their federal unemployment benefits from 99 weeks to 63 or 73 weeks depending on the state.
What is means is that you fight to retain a work requirement for welfare recipients at a time you are steadfastly working to prevent new jobs from being created so that many welfare recipients can’t possibly meet the work requirement and are then taken off of welfare.
What it means is that after you lose people their jobs and their unemployment you also take their medical insurance away by trying to abolish the Affordable Care Act and take their Medicaid away by refusing federal funds to add coverage for adults and children who don’t have any.
What it means is that you vilify people on Food Stamps as “freeloaders”, “gaming the system”, “accepting free handouts” when without Food Stamps, these people couldn’t afford to buy food since they no longer have jobs, unemployment benefits, or welfare.
What it means is that you take tax deductions and tax credits not allowed to people with lesser income who are in essence subsidizing your tax breaks and paying a higher percentage of their income in taxes than you are.
What it means is that you’re far more interested in telling women what they can’t do with their bodies, and same sex couples what they can’t do with their relationships.
What it means is that it’s all about you and your control over anyone you perceive as weaker than you.
What it means is that you simultaneously live in fear while instilling it in others.
What it means is that you tell lies you think you can get away with and hide the truth that you hope will not give you away.
What it means to be a Republican is to wrap yourself in God and religion when in reality you will never find a needle with an eye large enough to let you into heaven.