Opinion: Moderate Democrats were betrayed by their own party

  

Category:  Op/Ed

Via:  gregtx  •  2 months ago  •  20 comments

By:   MSN

Opinion: Moderate Democrats were betrayed by their own party
With the decision last week to delay a promised vote on the bipartisan infrastructure legislation, this unfolding spectacle proves a point I have been making for years: The political center of America is underrepresented in the United States Congress, especially in the House of Representatives.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



With the decision last week to delay a promised vote on the bipartisan infrastructure legislation, this unfolding spectacle proves a point I have been making for years: The political center of America is underrepresented in the United States Congress, especially in the House of Representatives.

e151e5.gif© Andrew Harnik/AP Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks to reporters as he leaves a private meeting with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., White House domestic policy adviser Susan Rice, Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese, and other White House officials on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. Determined not to let his $3.5 trillion government overhaul collapse, President Joe Biden cleared his schedule late Thursday and Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed the House into an evening session as the Democratic leaders worked to negotiate a scaled-back plan centrist holdouts would accept. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress routinely acquiesce to dogmatic progressives and uncompromising conservatives, respectively, because those members have large numbers in their caucuses, remain strongly unified and are not afraid to take political hostages.

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Progressive Democrats in the House mimicked the take-no-prisoners, hardball tactics of Republicans in the House Freedom Caucus to block the infrastructure legislation. Simply stated, the progressives are holding the bipartisan infrastructure bill hostage until there is an agreement and vote on the massive reconciliation bill with a price tag as high as $3.5 trillion. Further, progressives threatened to vote down the bipartisan infrastructure bill -- legislation they ostensibly support on substance -- until their demands on reconciliation were met and satisfied.

It's all about "leverage" and progressives said this out loud. If the infrastructure bill passed into law, House moderates would no longer feel pressure to vote for the bloated reconciliation bill that has no chance of becoming law thanks to opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. In this internecine battle among congressional Democrats, President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sided with progressives over moderates. Pelosi did this by delaying the vote last Thursday, a move that played to what progressives had been demanding. Betrayal is too kind a word to describe this humiliation visited upon House moderates.

e151e5.gif© CNN Charlie Dent

Democratic House moderates are justifiably enraged and apoplectic. They were thrown under the bus. After all, moderates in good faith negotiated an agreement in August with the Speaker that facilitated a (legal) quid pro quo. Moderates would support the House budget resolution, necessary to initiate the reconciliation process, in exchange for a vote before September 27 on the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Pretty simple -- and now that deal has been trashed. Moderates trusted their leaders to honor this agreement and they were shamefully pushed aside by those same leaders to appease the progressives.

Unlike progressives, moderates cannot return to their districts and claim "leverage" as a reason for opposing an infrastructure bill. Reality for moderates, where re-election is not a sure thing, does not allow them to publicly oppose a popular jobs bill to protect their procedural options. Voters in swing districts would leverage moderate members out of their seats for such brazen behavior.

Now that the Democratic leadership reneged on the deal and threw all in with the progressives, my advice to House Democratic moderates is simply to walk away from reconciliation negotiations until the infrastructure bill becomes law. It's time to deploy the same hardball tactics of the far left. Hold your breath and wait for your leaders to turn blue.

What's so astonishing in this whole debate is the presumption that all congressional Democrats support this expansive, big spending agenda. Yes, progressives support it. Maybe I missed it, but I didn't hear moderate, swing district congressional Democratic candidates in their 2020 campaigns tell their constituents they wanted to spend trillions of dollars, outside of Covid-19 relief, in support of a massive expansion of the federal government's role in our lives. Sure, Vermont progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders advocated for this agenda, but he lost the Democratic presidential primary.

Democrats have completely misread Biden's 2020 election mandate. The 2020 election was a repudiation of President Donald Trump, and it was not an endorsement of a big spending agenda. Full stop.

In fact, Republicans, other than Trump, did very well in the 2020 election. Not one Republican member of the US House who sought re-election lost. In fact, they picked up seats and some Democratic incumbents were defeated. Swing voters put Biden over the top and simultaneously wanted a check on the left wing of the Democratic Party by voting for down ballot Republican candidates, who exceeded expectations by any measure.

If this $3.5 trillion reconciliation proposal and its key components are as popular as Democrats tell us, then why not take this agenda to the voters in the 2022 midterm?

As Manchin stated so clearly last week during a press briefing on the reconciliation package, if progressives want a favorable vote on the reconciliation package, they'll need their constituents to "elect more liberals." Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson had large congressionalmajorities to enact their landmark platforms: The New Deal and Great Society, respectively. President Biden has the slimmest of majorities in both the House and Senate.

Believe it or not, Americans cast their votes for names on a ballot, not a party slate like in many parliamentary systems. The progressives and far right need a reminder that America's founders rejected a parliamentary system of government even though at times Congress behaves as if we became one. Not all Democrats and Republicans are monolithic and doctrinaire in their approach to governing. Diverse opinions on policy exist within political parties and that is healthy for democracy.

No doubt voters would like childcare options expanded, quality early childhood education provided, funding to fight back climate change and affordable access to health care for those who need it, but not on the scale proposed. What's more, these issues are not being dealt with in a vacuum.

After nearly $6 trillion in Covid spending, inflationary pressures, mayhem at the southern border, an ignominious surrender of Afghanistan to the Taliban and turbulence in Chinese financial markets as a result of the Evergrande debt crisis, now is the time for prudence and caution.

Bludgeoned moderates understand this. Too bad there aren't more of them in Congress to push back.

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GregTx
Sophomore Participates
1  seeder  GregTx    2 months ago
The political center of America is underrepresented in the United States Congress, especially in the House of Representatives.
 
 
 
Jack_TX
Junior Quiet
1.1  Jack_TX  replied to  GregTx @1    2 months ago

I could not agree more.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
2  Sean Treacy    2 months ago

tes in good faith negotiated an agreement in August with the Speaker that facilitated a (legal) quid pro quo. Moderates would support the House budget resolution, necessary to initiate the reconciliation process, in exchange for a vote before September 27 on the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Pelosi is a liar. Not just to the American people, but to her own caucus who trusted her to keep her word.  No one can trust a word out of her mouth. 

 
 
 
dennis smith
Masters Silent
2.1  dennis smith  replied to  Sean Treacy @2    2 months ago

Pelosi is a liar. Not just to the American people, but to her own caucus who trusted her to keep her word.  No one can trust a word out of her mouth. 

Pissant Pelosi doesn't even realize she has outlived her usefulness in politics. 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
3  Vic Eldred    2 months ago

I believe I heard a Politico columnist admit last week that the msm has no idea where the true center of America is.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
3.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  Vic Eldred @3    2 months ago

Journalists are generally in their own far left wing bubble. This study of their twitter interaction illustrates the point nicely.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
3.1.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  Sean Treacy @3.1    2 months ago

Yes, to them the world seems to be confined to a small circle of like minded people.

 
 
 
GregTx
Sophomore Participates
3.2  seeder  GregTx  replied to  Vic Eldred @3    2 months ago

Why would they? The extreme generates more clicks and views which drives the ratings.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
3.2.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  GregTx @3.2    2 months ago

Such was the testimony of Frances Haugen. Beware the Trojan Horse. Her real business is not yet begun.

 
 
 
Hallux
Sophomore Principal
3.3  Hallux  replied to  Vic Eldred @3    2 months ago

I doubt there is or ever was a true center, partisan politics rely on continuous oscillation.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
3.3.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  Hallux @3.3    2 months ago

The Great Silent Majority?

 
 
 
Hallux
Sophomore Principal
3.3.2  Hallux  replied to  Vic Eldred @3.3.1    2 months ago

That's a partisan abstraction that does not exist other than on a T-shirt. Such terms are used to keep the pendulum in motion.

 
 
 
GregTx
Sophomore Participates
3.3.3  seeder  GregTx  replied to  Hallux @3.3    2 months ago

All partisan all the time? Seems rather cynical..

 
 
 
Hallux
Sophomore Principal
3.3.4  Hallux  replied to  GregTx @3.3.3    2 months ago

It's in my Greek DNA.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
4  JohnRussell    2 months ago

What I find more than a little humorous about all this is that conservatives regularly describe themselves as "the political center of America".  That includes people like Vic and XX Jefferson. 

That is well, ridiculous, ..... so what is the "political center of America"?

What are the policies and principles of "the center" ? 
 

 
 
 
GregTx
Sophomore Participates
4.1  seeder  GregTx  replied to  JohnRussell @4    2 months ago
What are the policies and principles of "the center" ? 

Political centrism is thus by definition a relational concept, because the positions considered centrist depend on the specific policies of the competing ideological poles that the moderates are trying to reconcile.

.....so what is the "political center of America"?

The Economist stated in April 2005, Most Americans have fairly centrist views on everything from multiculturalism to abortion. They like to think of themselves as moderate and non-judgmental. More people identify themselves as independents (39%, according to the Pew Research Centre for the People & the Press) than as Democrats (31%) or Republicans (30%).

Centrism | Encyclopedia.com

 
 
 
Hallux
Sophomore Principal
4.1.1  Hallux  replied to  GregTx @4.1    2 months ago

One would think that 39% (Independents) would have a political party by now. That they don't makes me believe that their numbers are overly inflated by extremists on both sides who try to pass off themselves as moderates. To quote many a poster, "people lie to pollsters".

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
4.1.2  JohnRussell  replied to  Hallux @4.1.1    2 months ago

Very few people vote for third parties. The last third party candidate to win the presidency was Abraham Lincoln (the Republican Party was a "third party" in 1860) 161 years ago. Third party candidates dont do much better in state races either. 

Many independents agree much more with one of the two parties than they do with the other. Their independence is more a personal statement than a political one. 

 
 
 
Snuffy
Junior Quiet
4.1.3  Snuffy  replied to  JohnRussell @4.1.2    2 months ago
The last third party candidate to win the presidency was Abraham Lincoln (the Republican Party was a "third party" in 1860) 161 years ago. Third party candidates dont do much better in state races either. 

I believe this is because of the strangle-hold the two parties have over the campaign's and debates and the money that the political parties front to candidates.  There are several other political parties but you never get to see them in debates and they don't have the money to go toe to toe with the two major parties.  And I believe that independents agree with pieces from both parties but are turned off on the extremism from both parties which is why they register as independents. 

 
 
 
dennis smith
Masters Silent
4.1.4  dennis smith  replied to  Hallux @4.1.1    2 months ago
Indeendents are realistic and understand that a 3rd party is not viable in the USA.
Being independent speaks for itself. They evaluate the two parties and their respective candidates/policies tc and vote for whichever they believe to be true. 

 
 
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