Democrats Should Act Like They Are Still In Charge…Because They Are

The results of the November 2 mid-term elections were devastating for Democrats as had been predicted for weeks.  With over 60 seats lost in the House, the Republicans will retake control of that chamber in January 2011 after spending just 4 years in the minority.  Republicans also made gains in the Senate, but thanks to national exposure of extreme Tea Party candidates like Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell, the Democrats won’t have to give up their majority standing there.

Immediately following their big night, Republicans started laying out their plans for the 112th Congress.  Repealing health care.  Investigations in the Obama Administration.  Tax cuts for the rich.    These are the top priorities for Republicans starting next year – all aimed at “making sure President Obama is a one-term president” as stated by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

But here’s the thing – we are still in 2010.  And in 2010, Democrats hold a large margin in the House as well as 59 seats in the Senate.   The Democrats need to stop worrying about what’s coming in 2011 for a moment, and work especially hard at doing something good for the American people during the final days of their outright majority.

Unemployment is stubbornly stuck at 9.6%.  Republicans believe that extending all of the tax cuts is the only way to boost jobs and get that rate down.  Of course, many Republicans also believe President Obama is a secret Muslim on a personal crusade to destroy America and put everyone under Sharia law.   Obama and the Democrats want to let those tax cuts lapse for the top 2% of incomes – a move that would save approximately $700 billion from hitting the deficit.  So, in essence, both parties agree on 98% of the tax cuts and are going to fight about whether Warren Buffet should continue to pay less in taxes than his secretary.

Extending the tax cuts either way is fiscally bad for the nation.  The Congressional Budget Office studied the potential effects of various policy options on job growth and economic stimulus and found that while extending the tax cuts would have modest short term effects on job creation, in the long run, they would saddle us with so much more debt over the next 10-20 years, that any short term growth would quickly be squashed by the effect of increased interest payments on the debt.  According to the CBO, there are more effective and less costly ways to attempt to boost job and economic growth – such as increasing unemployment assistance and reducing employer and employee payroll taxes.

Let’s face it. Republicans do not want the unemployed finding work anytime soon.  If their number 1 goal is to remove Obama, as McConnell has said on more than one occasion, then trying to find compromise with Democrats would be counterproductive to that goal.  Therefore, it is crucial that the Democrats “man up” during this lame duck session and force the hand of the Republicans.  Force the Republicans to defend tax cuts for millionaires that don’t need them.   Claiming that millionaires create jobs is a hollow argument, considering that we’ve had a net loss of jobs since 2003 when both tax cuts were set in place.

If the Democrats have learned anything from the past 2 years, it should be that Republicans do not compromise unless the compromise is the Democrats voting for 100% of what the Republicans want.   In these final days of 2010, the Democrats need to show some muscle and prevent themselves from caving.  Whether it’s tax cuts or Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, they need to show their base that they care about the average American.

If Democrats want to set themselves up for 2012, they need to use this lame duck session to appeal to the middle class.  They need to paint the Republicans as hypocrites who rail against the deficit with one hand, and demand debt busting tax cuts with the other.  They need to give the liberal and moderate base hope that 2010 was just a hiccup and not a growing trend rightward.

You wouldn’t know it by watching the cable news, but Democrats are STILL in charge.  They just need to believe it for themselves.

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7 thoughts on “Democrats Should Act Like They Are Still In Charge…Because They Are

  1. sasoc says:

    Mr. Obama is destroying the Democrat party, and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

    But there is one person who can try, and oh how she will…

    It is then, in 2011, that BHO will feel the true pain of what he has brought on himself. His legislative agenda stalled, and his own party challenging him for the nomination….ouch

  2. rob says:

    The main problem with Obama and the WH has been communication. They consistently cannot seem to get in sync and tell the same story. As a result, Republicans have been able to falsely control the message without serious rebuke.
    Had the WH not remained mostly silent during those summer health care town halls, a lot more people would be in favor of the HCR law.

    The Republicans cannot continue to pull farther to the right and expect to win the WH in 2012.

    At some point both sides are going to have to give a little or we will all suffer.

  3. sasoc says:

    It has nothing to do with democrats failing to “tell their message.” As if the socialized medicine push was not understood! Of course it was, and it was rejected, but democrats pushed it through anyway and lied about its cost to boot.

    The American people, and even many Liberal commentators, knew that Obama’s healthcare accounting was rigged and fraudulent, and they said so.

    The electorate just punished the Democrats as a result of their pursuit of flawed policy and their willingness to lie about what they were actually doing.

    But go ahead, keep on believing that the flaw was only that democrats “failed to get their message out.” The longer you think that, the more the democrat party will suffer.

  4. […] A very good read from Rob Rubin of the Southern Yankee. The results of the November 2 mid-term elections were devastating for Democrats as had been predicted for weeks. With over 60 seats lost in the House, the Republicans will retake control of that chamber in January 2011 after spending just 4 years in the minority. Republicans also made gains in the Senate, but thanks to national exposure of extreme Tea Party candidates like Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell, the Democrats won’t have to give up their majority standing there. […]

  5. robrubin says:

    Explain to me where the socialism is in HCR? Last time I checked, there was no public option and no single payer. I believe outside of Medicare, all coverage is still provided by private insurance companies.

    The public likes all of the individual components of HCR, except for the mandate to buy insurance. But there is no way around a mandate if you are going to continue to use a system solely of private, for-profit insurers, otherwise only the sick would sign up for coverage and those companies would go bankrupt.

    And that’s the whole point really. These insurance companies are just like any other company whose main goal is to turn a profit. And it doesn’t take an advanced math degree to figure out that you make a profit if you pay out less in claims than you take in in premiums.

    People’s health is not the same as buying a big screen TV. Anyone can get struck with cancer or some other life threatening disease at any time. Sick people are a liability to insurance companies.
    But since the public does not want single-payer, what other choice is there.
    The whole point of HCR is to give people a fair shake when it comes to their health.

    Now, as much as the Republicans publicly say they will try to repeal HCR, it is all for show. Too many Republicans get far too many contributions from the health insurance companies, and given the mandate that people buy coverage for them, they certainly aren’t going to want to turn away all those new customers. What the Republicans will try to do is gut many of the consumer protections that are in the law, because ultimately that is what the health care industry is against.

    But this isn’t just about health care. It’s about the core fundamental differences between what each party believes is the right way to govern. The Republicans continue to cling to the notion that it is best to cater to the rich and powerful first and hopefully success will trickle down to the rest of us. Sometimes it works, but usually it doesn’t and simply creates a greater divide between the upper and middle class. The Democrats, on the other hand generally believe that people should all be treated fairly to the extent that only through government regulation can such equality occur.

    I believe there needs to be mix of both. The government should play a role in regulating industries which have the potential to do harm to consumers, but after that, I believe that a free market system works best in terms of competition and price controls. I did not support a public option or single payer partly for that reason. (I also believe that in a country of 300 million+, it is just not efficient to run health care through one entity.)

    I just don’t believe that based on past experience and the current tone in Washington, that Republicans have a real desire to help the average Joe. I think come 2012, many people who voted for Republicans this year will end up having buyer’s remorse.

  6. sasoc says:

    Giving health insurance to 40 million people who currently don’t have it can only be achieved via socialism, to be paid for by an unconstitutional and fascist requirement that all Americans buy health insurance whether they want to or not. Healthy people being forced, politburo style, into buying insurance will subsidize the millions of people who will be given it. But in some sense the lack of a public option fell one step short of pure socialism…however…

    The lack of a public option was necessary for Obama and his shock troops to force through the legislation. Yet the truth is easy to find on YouTube: there are many videos showing Paul Krugman and other mouth pieces saying that the “Reform” is only the first punch in a planned one-two punch in which the Public Option is the second punch. The socialist plan for healthcare is out in the open, and I give the Democrat Socialists respect for being so honest about it.

    Can you be honest about it?

  7. The Hook says:

    Self-confidence is hard to come by sometimes – even for Democrats!

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