The tea party movement has office-holding Republicans fearful of being sane; fearful of moderation; fearful of compromise (a tool our founding fathers used to form this great nation and the documents that created the foundation for our governance). As a result, Republicans either stay in office after veering more sharply to the right or get “primaried” (now a verb) by someone more TO the right than the right-leaning Republican holding the office already is/was, which either results in a more radical conservative holding the office or a (usually) conservative-to-moderate Democrat eeking out an election victory only to be weak when it comes to fighting for Progressive causes.
Either way, the teabaggers wind up getting most, if not all, of what they want. It’s happened again, this time with the immigration policy currently being crafted by Congress. From Salon.com:
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) proposed an amendment that would let lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans sponsor their same-sex spouses for purposes of immigration visas. Republicans threatened to pull their support for the entire legislation if this amendment stood. And so Democrats on the committee and, reportedly, in the White House, publicly and privately pressured Leahy to withdraw his amendment.
Without Republican support, the Senate immigration markup (which passed with a 13-5 bipartisan vote) would’ve only passed with a 10-8 majority. Oh the horror. So, right on cue, Senators Chuck Schumer, (D-NY) DIane Feinstein (D-Ca) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill) cowered and caved on their support for the rights of the LGBT community. And the bill STILL would been passed by a majority vote, from Judiciary committee crafting it!!!
The worst part is, REPUBLICANS need the immigration bill (and their fingerprints ON it) far more than Democrats do. Need we be reminded of the terrible exit polling from just last November to prove that point? So Democrats (again) caving on their core progressive values of equality means Republicans get everything they need and want from this flawed bill, and Democrats? They’re left to praise legislation that discriminates. Real “progressive” of ‘em.
Which brings me back to my original thought: when radical neo-cons don’t get ENOUGH of what they want from Republicans in office, they find someone who vows to deliver for them, supports them in a primary, and either scares the piss out of the incumbent and said incumbent veers further to the right, or they get their hand-picked politician to the general election.
When will REAL progressives start doing this? Something’s got to give, because “real” Democrats are few and far between these days. We’ve a centrist President who’s failed to deliver on enough core progressive campaign promises (Guantanamo, eradicating oil & gas tax loopholes & subsidies, closing tax loopholes used by corporations for covering CEO pay, allowing imported – and usually less expensive – prescription drugs into the U.S., and let’s be honest: Obamacare isn’t even CLOSE to what Progressives rallied for; if anything, it’s a refurbished 1980s-era Republican push more toward the private sector currently bankrupting Americans and the country) to have many of us wondering if he’s really a Democrat or just a Reagan-era Republican in “Democrat clothing.” And time and time again, we learn that our elected progressive legislative caucus lacks the spine, intestinal fortitude or “stones” to stand firm for what they proclaim to want to actually “stand” for.
Isn’t it time to start “primarying” (my spell-check is going bonkers on this post) Democrats who don’t deliver? If it works for the tea party, then maybe it’s time for a progressive version of that movement. Who’s in?