Sunday, January 29, 2006

MyDD :: Direct Democracy for People-Power

"Three Card Monty" Washington style!

MyDD :: Direct Democracy for People-Powered Politics: "You Don't Get Points for Trying"

I'm going to get a lot of flack for this post, but here goes.

A filibuster is an extreme action that requires robust public support. We do not have this support. It's that simple. I'm all for keeping Alito off the court, and a filibuster until after the SOTU is a good idea. But it's very important for the netroots to understand what's happening here. This last-minute campaign to get Senators to switch their votes, after it became crystal clear that we do not have the votes to filibuster, is a classic example of 'get points for trying' politics. It's a way for Senators to get credit from the left-wing of the party without having to actually do anything or stop anything. The reality is that this fight was lost two months ago, when Senators decided that going on Christmas break was more important than preparing to defend the constitution, and PFAW and Alliance for Justice decided that releasing 150 page documents was a good way to build public pressure against Alito's confirmation

By all means, call your Senators. Don't stop. Don't let up. But don't forgive the party leadership and our groups for this travesty. People for the American Way has been preparing for this fight for years. And then they didn't show up. The same is true with NARAL, and the Alliance for Justice. I honestly don't know why they are funded anymore - that's how bad this failure has been. And Senators - including DiFi, HRC, Kerry, and Obama - have revealed themselves to be craven fair weather fans who expect others to do the work of standing up for Democratic values for them. Think about it for a moment. John Kerry called for a filibuster from Switzerland two hours after it became public that there were not enough votes for a filibuster. That is atrocious. Tinman points out on Breaking Blue the essential point:

If he was serious about it he would have stayed in Washington, held press conferences, lobbied his colleagues and tried to generate as much attention as possible. Since it was just a PR stunt, it wasn't necessary for Kerry to change his travel plans................

And don't delude yourself, this is intentional. The attitude that the insiders have towards us is that we are a stupid ATM set up to feed their ineffectiveness. Witness uberinsider telling us the truth about where we fit in:

"The bloggers and online donors represent an important resource for the party, but they are not representative of the majority you need to win elections," said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic lobbyist who advised Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. "The trick will be to harness their energy and their money without looking like you are a captive of the activist left."

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