Friday, December 18, 2009

Today's Safe Word: Discipline the Party!

Evidently, I am batshit crazy. All the time I spent assuming I was merely crazy, uninterestingly so, I labored under a misunderstanding. I have been batshit and now, disappointingly, can no longer use the term. If you have an alternative I can use, please let me know.

In the meantime, let's discuss the Senate Health Care Bill. I hate it; I also want it to pass. (A benefit of being batshit crazy: I can hold very contradictory thoughts in my head.) As Glenn Greenwald points out, the bill is tantamount to growing corporatism; however, as Paul Krugman points out, the bill does a great deal of necessary good. Plus, the Senate bill is not the final word; differences between the House bill and the Senate bill will be hashed out in committee. Considering the fact that the House bill is considerably better and more progressive, passing a Senate bill now makes it possible that Congress will end up creating a much better final bill than the Senate bill.

But what bothers me is the intense amount of anger toward progressives for railing against a shitty bill. I understand John Cole's frustration with Howard Dean over at Balloon Juice; I agree with it. That said, the politicking around this bill follows the same ridiculous pattern that every Democratic piece of legislation follows: whenever the progressive/leftist/whatever you'd like to call it-wing of the Democratic party pushes legislation that's broadly popular (single payer, the public option), they get shat upon by Obama's White House and their ideas diluted to nothing. So when they criticize the final legislation, they're supposed to know their place and keep quiet. But on the other hand, when "centrist"* asshats like Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman keep objecting to the legislation for utterly unprincipled and illogical reasons, the Democratic leadership caves to their arbitrary objections and opts for reform that most people don't support.

And so it goes for every piece of crucial legislation, all in the name of party discipline. Look: I campaigned for Obama knowing he wasn't that progressive, but there's got to be a fucking limit to how far right the Democratic Party swings. They cannot define themselves by the Bush standard or tea partiers. But, of course, they will, unless we find some way to Discipline the Party!

*There aren't big enough scare quotes for the idea of "centrism."

In other news:
  • The best headline about pro-lifers you'll read this week.
  • The most fun C-SPAN-related video you'll see this week. Watch for the Lieberman smackdown; stay for the McCain histrionics.

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