I see that House Republicans are gearing up to propose a vote on a resolution to condemn Rep. Stark for the comments he made the other day on the House floor during the vote to override Bush’s veto of the SCHIP legislation. I also see that Speaker Pelosi has taken the opportunity to repuke Rep. Stark publicly for those same remarks.

“You’re going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement,” Stark told Republicans on the floor of the House. […]

“While members of Congress are passionate about their views, what Congressman Stark said during the debate was inappropriate and distracted from the seriousness of the subject at hand – providing health care for America’s children,” Pelosi, D-San Francisco, said.

Let me just say how ridiculous and stupid I find her remarks to be, and let me also openly state that there is no way in hell the Democratic Leadership in the House should allow the Republicans to have a floor vote on any resolution condemning Rep. Stark for simply exercising his first amendment rights.

My concern is I’ve heard far worse things from Republicans directed toward Democrats on numerous occasions (or have you forgotten what happened to Senator Durbin already, to cite but one example) yet you never hear of any member of the GOP caucus (with the one exception of McCain responding to the Swift Boating of John Kerry) condemning those remarks. So why do Democrats continue to back down whenever one of their members says something that riles up the GOP in the heat of battle? It’s shameful and disheartening when Democratic leaders do this, and it doesn’t make the liberal base of the party very enthusiastic about working to elect Democrats.

Why do you think Congress’ poll numbers are so low? It’s because Democrats (and a majority of independents) overwhelmingly disapprove of the actions of our leadership. The Democratic party’s base came out to vote in force in 2006, while the GOP base did not. It’s one of the main reasons Democrats did so well, along with the message they gave voters that Democrats would oppose the Bush agenda. So I fail to see how this strategy of caving into the GOP and Bush at every opportunity benefits the Dem’s electoral chances in 2008.

Americans know that it’s hard for the Dems in Congress to overcome Bush’s vetos and a recalcitrant Republican caucus, but they did expect Dems to put up more of a fight. When we see our own leaders always backing away from anything resembling opposition to Bush’s policies, it leaves us with the impression that those Democratic leaders do not share our values or our passion to change the direction of this country. It makes us believe that they care only about regaining and holding power, and the K Street cash that comes with it, not about doing those things that ordinary Americans elected them to do.

Comments like Speaker Pelosi’s regarding Rep. Stark, and those she made recently regarding the activists who protested her decision to take impeachment off
the table (i.e., openly saying she wishes they could have been arrested for loitering) anger many of us who fought very hard to ensure a Democratic victory last Fall. To continue down this path of doing nothing is a
dangerous political strategy in my view. It will discourage the Democrats most dedicated voters from going to the polls next year, a year when GOP voters
are likely to be re-energized to cast their votes against Hillary Clinton (the most likely Democratic nominee as it stands now) regardless of whomever the
Republicans nominate.

Unless elected Democrats start to get the message which their base is sending to them every day on liberal blogs and in opinion polls, I suspect you will be very surprised next year when many of us opt out of voting for Democrats, either by not showing up at the polls to cast our ballots, or by voting for the Greens in protest.

Right now the dominant narrative which Reid and Pelosi’s failures have created is that Democrats are weak and spineless, and lack principles. It’s all over
the blogosphere, and in the national media (not just FOX News, by the way) as well. If you want to change that narrative you have to actually stand up and oppose Bush at some point and take the risk that you’ll get a bit of heat from the right wing spin machine, and from the many inside the Beltway pundits who so readily take the GOP talking points and run with them. But if you do, I believe it’s a gamble well worth taking.

One thing you could do is get behind Ron Paul’s bill HR 3835 (which I wrote about yesterday) and make sure to bring it up for a vote with Democratic
co-sponsors. I’m no fan of Ron Paul, but his bill reads like something which could and should have been proposed by the Democratic leadership back in January.
Besides, backing Paul’s bill, and also by allowing Rep. Kucinich’s bill to bring impeachment charges against Vice President Cheney to come to a vote, would do wonders for the Democrats image with their base. The GOP won elections by energizing their base around core issues such as the war on terror, gay marriage, tax cuts, etc. When will the Democrats steal that page out of their playbook, and take steps to energize its own base?

For your sakes, and more importantly for ours, I hope very soon.


Steven D

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