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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Money Party Dems: Oh No You Don't!


If this is what the Democratic takeover of Congress is going to mean, the battle for the heart and soul of the Party has just begun. We'd better put the pressure on ASAP to confront any and all Dems who dare to talk like Rep. Rangel on middle class issues and more. Check out what David Sirota is reporting on the Money Party leanings of our new Chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee:

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) represents one of the poorest congressional districts in New York City. He also chairs the House Ways and Means Committee - the panel that oversees taxes and entitlements. This combination would lead the casual observer to think that Rangel, trying to represent his district, would be aggressively using his chairmanship to redirect President Bush’s tax cuts to lower-income people, strengthen and even expand Social Security and renegotiate trade deals to protect American jobs. But, no. That’s not what appears to be happening. In the weeks after the congressional election, Rangel has expressed interest in doing the exact opposite: preserving President Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy; considering Social Security benefit cuts and retirement age hikes; and supporting lobbyist-written trade pacts that have no wage, environmental or human rights protections in them. He has, in other words, moved to side firmly with the Money Party against the People Party.

I have to agree with Sirota's earlier take on a definition of the sides that really are in play in Washington. Not conservative vs. liberal, not Democratic Party vs. Republican Party, not left vs. right, not centrist vs. extremist, but Money Party vs. People Party:

Anyone who spends 5 minutes around the halls of power in the nation’s capital knows that Washington is dominated by one party: The Money Party, and that the People Party is far outnumbered - even after this election. Look no further than votes on the bankruptcy bill, the energy bill, the class action bill, China PNTR and NAFTA to figure out which politicans who call themselves Republicans and Democrats actually belong to the Money Party and which politicians actually belong to the People Party. The Establishment pretends this paradigm doesn’t exist - they need the drama of Democrats vs. Republicans to sell newspapers, and more importantly, hiding the existence of the real power equation is in the interest of all the major for-profit corporations that own the media.

Thankfully, some of the Dem fresh faces in Congress, like Senators-Elect John Tester (D-MT) and Jim Webb (D-VA), and new House members Sherrod Brown and Heath Shuler, ran on strongly populist economic platforms. It's the old hands -- like Charlie Rangel, our own Jeff Bingaman, Steny Hoyer and others -- we'll have to watch closely.

Big corporate campaign donors always seek to put the kabosh on anything that benefits ordinary people or creates a level playing field, and the longer politicos luxuriate in the lobbyist-run bubble of DC, the more they seem to forget the people and their issues. Money talks. Hence we have the mainstream media -- and many Dem analysts -- emphasizing the need to focus on "bipartisanship." What they want is a bipartisan effort by Money Party members on both sides to kill the populist impulse that was expressed so clearly by voters in the midterm elections.

Yes, we now have Dem majorities in both Houses of Congress, but People Party stalwarts are still in very short supply. The real battle will be between the corporatists and those who are truly dedicated to representing the needs of ordinary people. Are you ready? Something tells me we've only begun to fight.

November 29, 2006 at 01:30 PM in Democratic Party, Economy, Populism | Permalink


New Mexico's own Dist. 2 Rep, Stevan Pearce had his staff along with SSA reps at a session for SSA recipients in Roswell today. The local tv station's news story on the event showed one of his staff saying that you "might not" get all of Part D benefits but you "might" get "some" of the benefits. Which means you "might" get none of the benefits. The staff member said you are to be thankful for what you can get "the way things are now" or words to that effect. Yes, we know why things are the way they are now, thanks to Stevan, W and Cheney. Who BTW get full medical coverage for life. Yes, Stevan you certainly are a congressman with "our values". Not!

Posted by: Marc | Nov 29, 2006 6:26:11 PM

"Something tells me we've only begun to fight." Likewise, something tells ME that statement may well be the new mantra for Progressive/Democratic voters. If the entrenched Dem's in DC think they were handed a Majority to take over where the entrenched "Money Party" left off, continuing to enrich their corporate masters and big contributors while ignoring the folks that put them in office, they may be in for a rude awakening.

Posted by: VP | Nov 29, 2006 9:02:58 PM

Hollow threat VP. Were would liberals turn?
Indeed, where do all the People turn for true representation, true protection?
I feel very cynical about money in power these days.
Politicians require millions to get elected and then to hold power.
Traitorous big multinational corporations control the money and hence the power in all but name.

Posted by: qofdisks | Nov 30, 2006 12:00:35 AM

.... getting ready to put their feet to the fire and why not start at home too when the state legislative session gets underway in Jan. Let's get a "living wage" bill passed, indexed to inflation. I want to see what legislators are supporting that legislation and which ones are caving in to pressures from groups like the Chamber of Commerce.

Posted by: pancheetah | Nov 30, 2006 8:01:13 AM

It's not a matter of where liberals or progressives would go. These issues we are talking about are American issues that preserve what made America special-its strong middle and working classes. Conservatives and centrists should be just as disturbed about crooked politicians doing the dirty work for huge multinational corps.

Many Dems who are focusing on economic populism were elected this time and they vary widely on their position on other issues. What they have in common is the view that big money players shouldn't be calling the shots. We need to find and support more candidates like these, which is what is going on all over the nation.

If we want good candidates we need to take over Party mechanisms, encourage ordinary citizens to run for office and put our money where our mouths are in supporting them when they run. The Dean campaign showed that more than adequate campaign cash can be raised by thousands of small donations from ordinary people. Remember, Dean out-raised all the other Dem candidates for prez via his online operation. He didn't need big bucks from the usual suspects so he was free to criticize them.

He didn't win, of course, but he did show how it can be done and that is a very important lesson.

Posted by: Old Dem | Nov 30, 2006 9:05:38 AM

That was hardly intended as a threat, I like to think that we are witnessing an awakening of the sleeping giant known as "We The People", the middle class. Multinationals may well control the money and their Political puppets in DC now, but the middle class known as "We The People" do the voting and unless GWB is successful in taking that right away, we (we being the people) WILL have the final say. Perhaps I am delusional, but I think that after so many years of little or no accountability change is coming. BTW, when I say "after so many years" I am not talking about just the last six under Bu$h but back to Nixon, that's when the push to get where we are today started. The wrath of the voter lost it's power to motivate Politicians and I think we are seeing a return to a time when the "voters speak Washington listens". At least I want to believe that's what's happening. BTW gofdisks you ask "where do all the People turn for true representation, true protection", simple answer, to ourselves WE band together to make it happen, we can no longer afford to allow Bu$hCo to keep up divided and powerless.

Posted by: VP | Nov 30, 2006 9:07:54 AM

Waking the sleeping giant after too much tryptophan...
Apparently not that easy. Here's a close paraphrase from a message thread on another board,

'I would be extremely surprised if you get a response to your letter. I wrote the Gov. Richardsn before the election asking him where he stands on bringing attention the the genocides and starvation in Africa and never got a response. So now that these elected officials already have their place I doubt that they will respond! But I will let you know if I get anything.'

Posted by: pancheetah | Nov 30, 2006 9:43:35 AM

Folks, there is a way you can address concerns about money controlling the political process right here in New Mexico-work for an expansion of public campaign financing during the upcoming legislative session. Attend committee hearings or call/email your legislator and ask them to support the issue.

There will be a lot more to come on this matter.

Posted by: | Nov 30, 2006 10:26:45 AM

Go Matt Brix and Common Cause! That is surely one big way to renew government's interest in issues that help the people. I recommend everyone join Common Cause and prepare for a big push at the legislature this January.

VP: You are so right about it starting back in the Nixon days. I too feel there is a big change bubbling up. People are sick of being told how wonderful everything is while the quality of their lives and futures are deteriorating like crazy.

Posted by: JLC | Nov 30, 2006 1:05:06 PM

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