Earlier this morning, I was reading a post entitled, "What Happened to the Energy of Hope Here at Daily Kos?" Normally, I view topics such as this as navel gazing. I much prefer either educational posts that help produce a record or those which have a definitive call to action. I was going through the post when one particular comment froze me in my tracks. The commenter wrote that much of the cynicism and criticism directed toward the President and the leadership of the Democratic party are low blows and "a lot of it has to do with the remarkable tendency for self sabotage among progressives."
Self sabotage? Really? That comment dredged up several unfortunate memories, and I'll detail my memories of "sabotage," and I am willing to name names below the jump.
For several years, one of my unvarnished joys is reading Paul Krugman's columns twice a week. As his fans are well aware, Krugman pulls no punches, and unlike so many of the pundit class, isn't afraid to call B.S. for what it is, B.S. Professor Krugman is angry about the cuts to the Food Stamp program both on the grounds of morality and on the grounds of being poor economic policy in both the short term and the long term. If you haven't already, take a little time from your busy day and read today's column.
Now longtime observers of the American political scene know that the truly idiotic and destructive ideas of the crackpot conservative GOP would never get enacted without help from the corporate wing of the Democratic party. That's where my congresswoman, Cheri Bustos (and the former babysitter of Senator Dick Durbin), enters the story. She represents the northwestern corner of the state of Illinois, sits on the House Agriculture Committee, and, yes she voted to cut the food stamp program.
One of the wonderful things about the internet, is that it is much harder for things to disappear down the memory hole. Unless one lives in Chicago or follows labor issues closely, one is not likely to remember that one of the longest strikes in U.S. history is ongoing; and, unless a settlement is reached within the next five weeks, will pass an infamous milestone of lasting a decade. On June 15, 2003, members of UNITE HERE Local 1 working at the Congress Hotel went out on strike after the hotel decided to cut wages by seven percent, refused to pay healthcare premiums for its employees which would effectively eliminate employee healthcare benefits), and reserved the right to contract out union members' jobs.
Hotel and restaurant employees are some of our hardest working Americans, and they are at the forefront in battling for a living wage for all. President Obama's nomination of Penny Pritzker, a confessed bank scammer, a loan-sharking mortgage predator, to his cabinet made me think of these poor strikers, and how they, like so many of us, are pawns, playthings, and props for the political class.
My friends over at Prairie State Blue have been doing some great work on freshman Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. Before she had finished her first month in Washington, they had already pegged her penchant for "selling out" her principles in the name of being a "No Labels" Congressional Problem Solver, and showing although she campaigned to vigorously protect Social Security and Medicare, she still hasn't signed the Grayson-Takano "No Cuts" letter. In theory, everyone wants their elected representatives to work for the good of the country, and no one in theory thinks they own a monopoly of wisdom. Bustos, like Obama, has an overwhelming desire to work with the other side in defiance of the grassroots activists and organizers who worked tirelessly to defeat Tea Partier Bobby Schilling. Besides rebuffing Democratic activists in the name of "bipartisanship" but also her own constituents. IL-17 is a "Safe" Democratic district. Besides electing Lane Evans, one of the founders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus of over twenty years, the district has a PVI of D+7. So far, out of the 202 members of the House Democratic caucus, Bustos is ranked the 182nd most progressive member. To give you some perspective, "former Blue Dog" member and the current head of the DCCC, Steve Israel is ranked 121st by Progressive Punch. Cheri Bustos is in serious Blue Dog territory.
But what has really gotten me riled up was a recent editorial co written by Bustos and published this week in the Quad Cities Online which perfectly illustrates the fraud of the whole "non ideological problem solver" theme being pushed by DCCC and the "bipartisanship" supposedly non partisan "No Labels" group.
Yesterday, Teacherken published a highly recommended diary entitled,"Paul Krugman asks if the election will be honored." If you haven't done so, I recommend that you read the diary, he did an excellent job summarizing the fiscal arguments of Krugman's article.
The discussion was extremely informative and spirited centering mostly around whether President Obama was a centrist Neoliberal Democrat or a closeted Progressive. Others argued over the sincerity of Barack Obama's offer to accept a "Grand Bargain." Is he sincerely attempting "entitlement reform" or is he once again playing 11th dimensional chess?
What was missing from the discussion of the topic of so called "entitlement reform" is a discussion of how policy over the past three decades has left the American middle class in a precarious state and the last thing it needs is to have the Social Security benefits into which so many of have paid be reduced.
Billy Dennis, aka Peoria Pundit, is a libertarian blogger who owns the Blogpeoria project which is dedicated to citizen journalism in Peoria. The "Blogfather of Peoria" decided last Friday to organize a boycott of WMBD's local advertisers of the Rush Limbaugh Show. One of WMBD's on-air personalities, Wayne R. Miller, the host of the Sunday morning call in show, "Wayne and the Hot Lady of Finance." has vowed to ruin Billy financially.
A Peoria area blogger published a story at Soapblox Chicago detailing Boehner's landlord's numerous campaign contributions to numerous GOP politicians. Anybody who is anybody in the Reublican party has received donations. By going to the FEC site you can find the President, Speaker of the House, and numerous Senators and Represntative. The article provides plenty of links detailing the many tentacles of super-lobbyist John D. Milne. The main question is why does John Milne use an Illinois address? I can understand the changing of jobs, and addresses in Washington D.C. Is this common to use numerous P.O. Boxes, occupations, etc? Why do something like this? There must be someone out there with the proper expertise and connections to get this story out. You can read the article here
As a lifelong Democrat who has been tired of constantly having my butt kicked come election the last thirty years, I admit I was heartened by the mobilization of Progressive forces in the last election and the events afterward that should position us toward becoming an electoral majority for the next generation. Namely, I speak of Howard Dean's movement away from large corporate donors and a believe in grassroots mobilizing. However, I wish to offer some criticism about tonight's meetup agenda.