Sunday, August 16, 2009

60 seat filibuster-proof majority

“Look, the fact of the matter is there are not the votes in the United States Senate for the public option.” - Kent Conrad (D-North Dak). 7/16/09

OK. So what the fuck is the point of voting for the Democratic Party? If the Democrats can't pass low-hanging fruit like a public option (similar to RomneyCare in Mass), with a filibuster-proof 60 seat majority, what is the use?

I can already hear the litany of excuses from some on the liberal left to explain why the public option crashed and burned. But this is not only the doing of a handful of conservative Democrats in the Senate. This is a deep institutional problem with the Democratic Party, with our electoral procedures, with the weight of economic power that prevails within our political institutions.

I hate that I was right about this, but I recall being totally alienated at the Obama victory-rally amidst huge numbers of elated people in the streets. I recall feeling stressed, thinking to myself: all of this energy has been spent for this moment, but this moment is only (at best) the opening of a small amount of space for other things to happen. And what's going to ensure that they do?

2 comments:

No L said...

Yeah. I'm pretty pissed at Obama for not drafting legislation and handing it to the Dems before starting all this town hall BS.

T said...

Yea, I agree with you. The town hall thing is such a boneheaded concept: they are patronizing, fake and useless as means of collecting information about public sentiment. Legislators don't hold them so that they can actually learn what their constituents think; there are far more effective means of doing that. They hold them for 'symbolic' reasons, but those reasons strike me as bankrupt and, like i said above, patronizing.

And as a tactical move... they seem to have totally crashed and burned.

I also agree that Obama should have put together a more firm plan and attempted to explain it more clearly. Most americans still don't understand what his plan consists of.