North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad and other Democratic leaders in Washington are taking some heat in the blogosphere this week:
Kent Conrad, Max Baucus, Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman and Harry Reid, I'm talking to you. Because we're sick of hearing your lame excuses. We're tired of necessary legislation like health care reform being watered down, sandbagged and sabotaged because you want to cave to the insurance industry. We're sick of your craven cowardice. We gave your party the majority so you can fulfill promises to fix our economy, extricate us from Bush's wars and repair a health care system that's so badly broken that up to 100,000 people die every year from inadequate health care in the richest country in the world.
Every week we hear a new ploy.
Last week, it was the trigger, that was engineered to never be triggered. Didn't fly, did it.
This week, it's the co-op proposal, designed to leave the risk pools so fragmented and the co-ops so small as to have zero influence on the insanely inflated prices in the health care market. Yeah, we know why the Rick Scott groupies like this idea.
And now you're going on all the cable news bobblehead shows and saying "We don't have the votes!"
Well, I have one word in response:BULLSHIT!!!
Harry Reid, you're the Senate Majority Leader. Stop sniveling. Don't tell us that you don't have the votes. Go get the votes. That's your job. Try acting like LBJ instead of a jellyfish, and you'll be amazed at how much can be done with a little arm-twisting.
And don't tell me that you need 60 votes to pass legislation in the Senate. The only reason that is the case is because you allow it to be the case. It doesn't take sixty votes to pass a bill. It takes 51. Perhaps you could make it clear to fellow members of your party that it's unacceptable for a Democrat to vote against cloture for a Democratic bill, but they're perfectly free to vote against it in the final vote if they have to object. And if all that fails, you've got reconciliation, if you've got a pair...
Kent Conrad, don't tell me that the only way to get cloture on a bill is to water it down and cave in to unreasonable Republican demands. Perhaps you've forgotten that past senators in this quandry deal with it by going on the bobblehead shows, but instead of saying "We don't have the votes," they say "The opposition are holding this bill hostage by refusing to let it come to an up-or-down vote!" It's amazing how many Republicans will start walking back when they're publicly shamed for obstructionism. You only need a couple.
Okay, so sometimes DailyKos bloggers can go a little over the top, but the point isn't that far off.
I, too, am concerned that some Democrats in Washington aren't acting like leaders. Leaders shouldn't ever be heard to say "We aren't going to advocate for the best plan because we just don't have the votes." Leaders should put together the best plan to resolve a problem (or crisis) and say, "We have the best plan to resolve the problem. You can climb on board the train, or you can take the blame when our economy derails. Decide." If some Republicans want to obstruct the Democrats' efforts to keep the train on the tracks (or put it back on after 8 years of George Bush), then let them take the blame. Let them be obstructionists. Let them force the train off the tracks.
Once the Dems in Washington have a solid plan put together, it really shouldn't be that hard.
Put together the best plan and go get the votes.
[Note: There's a group of progressive state-level bloggers changing their blogs' background colors to green as an expression of solidarity with the rights of the Iranian people to have free and fair elections, and their right to peacably protest when they don't get them. I'm joining that cause for a couple days.]