Democrats in Name Only Handicap the President

I am a registered Independent who usually votes Democrat but I wish there were a really democratic (major) party in America. The truth is that – to liberals like me – the Democrats are often the better of two evils. No party in Jamaica or Canada – the two other countries where I have lived for any length of time – is to the right of any party in America. In Jamaica, both major parties were founded by trade unions, for example. And in Ontario, the Conservatives long ago added “Progressive” to their name.

Even with that diehard conservative, Stephen Harper, as prime minister, Canada is far to the left of America.

The problem, as I see it, is the Big Tent philosophy that allows any politician, regardless of ideology, to belong to a party. The conservatives became aware of the problem and have taken steps to claim the Republican Party for their own. Today’s Republican Party has no room for RINOs (Republicans in name only).

By contrast, Democrats just want to “win” seats with no concern for a candidate’s beliefs.

The pundits and the press heap scorn and ridicule on the movement to “purify” the Republican Party, and I share their distaste for the people involved in it. But I must reluctantly respect them, too. At least they have the courage of their convictions. I know where I stand with them.

The prevailing philosophy in the media seems to be that “moderates” are the most desirable people to have running the country. But that makes no sense in the present political climate. Having one “moderate” party and one that is extreme is like one hand clapping.

Nothing happens.

Yesterday’s filibuster fizzle in the Senate is a dispiriting example. The Democrats have a majority in the Senate and you would think it a simple matter to end the filibuster rule that has helped paralyze the country’s government and thwart the president’s agenda.

As Steve Kornaki observes in Salon.com today:

Republicans have used the filibuster to turn the Senate into a de facto 60-vote body. It was the key tool they deployed in 2009 and 2010 to stall and water down Obama’s agenda, back when Democrats enjoyed robust majorities in both legislative chambers but (except for a few months) fell short of the magic 60-vote mark in the Senate.

 Some  Democrats in the Senate hoped to force filibustering senators to actually talk a bill to death, instead of blocking bills by merely threatening to filibuster. Failing that, they wanted senators to produce at least 41 votes in order to proceed with a filibuster.

As Rachel Maddow’s relentless parade of videos illustrated last night on MSNBC, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been promising for years to end the filibuster sham. But nothing of the sort has been achieved.

Reid unexplainedly caved yesterday, settling for merely cosmetic changes that will do nothing to help enact legislation.

We are left to guess that he simply did not have the votes – despite his party’s Senate majority. Obviously, some Democratic senators sided with the Republicans to block reform.

I think the senators responsible should be named. I think they should be targeted in future primaries to cleanse the party of DINOs (Democrats in name only).

Americans deserve better government. We deserve a choice between competing ideologies, not a mishmash of self-serving policies dictated by special-interest lobbyists and campaign contributors.

Until we get that choice, we can cheer the president’s speeches and send our contributions to him and his party, but little of value will be achieved. The country will limp along, with a do-nothing Congress hobbled by chameleon-like representatives who turn blue or red as their personal careers dictate.

Click here to read Steve Kornacki’s article.

Click here for an account of the filibuster fizzle.