What ‘e pluribus unum’ Doesn’t Mean: Nancy Pelosi, #ImpeachTrump and #Ocasio2018 [Updated 7/4] | Blog#42
Nancy Pelosi made an appearance on CNN’s Town Hall
last night on Wednesday, May 23rd. When confronted with the fact that 7 in 10 Democratic voters want to see the Mueller and congressional investigations end in a conviction and impeachment, she had this to say:
“Impeachment is to me, divisive. … If the facts are there, then this would have to be bipartisan to go forward. But if it is viewed as partisan, it will divide the country.”
This is intolerable and one of the many signs that top Democrats are afraid and, therefore, unwilling to upset the same white voters who ended up voting for Trump in 2016, in spite of all the warts we could see even then.
“Let me just say, our founders gave us our guidance. They said “e pluribus unum.”
Our founders gave us an entire constitution – not just a motto. That constitution doesn’t say, not anywhere, that unity is a dogmatic order to be followed at the risk of perdition. Our founders were far more nuanced and wiser than our current crop of leaders.
E pluribus unum does not apply to a president who arrived at the White House thanks to the collusion of family, friends, and associates with a foreign power. E pluribus unum does not apply to a corrupt administration that has engaged, from day one, in rolling back every last regulation and law designed to benefit all Americans. E pluribus unum does not apply to an administration filled with white supremacists who are actively working to roll back the hard-won civil rights of minorities and the disabled.
Exactly who are we uniting and for the sake of what? Germany
Pelosi has come out in criticism of this administration a handful of times, remaining silent as almost daily assaults are being waged on Americans. The same applies to her counterpart in the Senate, Chuck Schumer. Democrats should have been in front of cameras on a daily basis, offering the clear agenda their voters want. Instead, we don’t even have clarity on what policies congressional Democrats are united on. We do know, from gleaning from articles that track Trump’s undoing of previous policy, that a certain group of Democrats have consistently been voting with Republicans.
At the same time, Democrats keep playing up Russian interference and continue to nurse the public’s rancor over the circumstances surrounding Hillary Clinton’s loss. You cannot, on the one hand, cry foul over Russia, and protect Trump from the idea of impeachment, on the other hand. These two things do not follow each other.
Pelosi is hardly the only high ranking Democrat who has consistently refused to talk about impeachment. Late last year, it was Dianne Feinstein who was expressing hopeful thoughts about Donald Trump’s capacity to learn and pushing back on any talk of impeachment. This is what Feinstein said in September 2017:
“Look. This man is gonna be president, most likely, for the rest of this term. I just hope he has the ability to learn and to change. And if he does, he can be a good president. And that’s my hope. I have my own personal feelings about it. (Boos) Yah, I understand how you feel. I understand how you feel.”
At what point will Democrats run a true resistance movement? At what point will Democrats fight congressional Republicans who, so far, have done more to protect Trump than their counterparts did when it was Richard Nixon who was being investigated? Where is the public fight? Where are the mass-protests? Where is parliamentary discipline and the semblance of party unity? 30 Democrats voted with Republicans just yesterday to repeal a portion of the Dodd-Frank Act. This is hardly the only instance of Democrats breaking with their colleagues on legislative votes. Where are the daily push-backs on all the things the Trump administration and their cohorts in Congress are doing to roll back this nation’s social contract with itself, but also to derail Bob Mueller’s investigation in one form or another?
Update: Speaking of unifying…
After Joe Crowley’s upset defeat by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Sanders campaign alumnus and Democratic Socialist, Pelosi had this to say about the win:
“She noted that Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old democratic socialist who ran to the left of Crowley, is from a “very progressive district in New York” while noting that Crowley is a progressive but Ocasio-Cortez is “more left than” the congressman she defeated.
“The fact that in a very progressive district in New York it went more progressive than … well, Joe Crowley is a progressive, but she’s more left than Joe Crowley, is about that district. It is not to be viewed as something that stands for anything else.””
Ocasio-Cortez didn’t miss a beat in her response on CNN:
"I think that we do need to elect a generation of new people to Congress on both parties,” says @Ocasio2018, adding “we have to have a diversity of age in Congress represented.” https://t.co/XMlTUxbrEv pic.twitter.com/0lyybbXGds
— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) June 28, 2018
Where is media criticism of Democrats who, again, are cutting off their own noses? After ten years of appeasement of the other party’s voters and the loss of over 1,000 legislative seats, isn’t it time for a fresh approach? Isn’t it time for this party to align itself squarely on the side of their existing voters’ wishes?
Well, Paul Krugman didn’t dare go all out against Ocasio-Cortez in a blog post he must have felt needed to be written. He kept it at back-handed compliments, in a post entitled: “Radical Democrats Are Pretty Reasonable:”
“So, about Ocasio-Cortez’s positions: Medicare for all is a deliberately ambiguous phrase, but in practice probably wouldn’t mean pushing everyone into a single-payer system. Instead, it would mean allowing individuals and employers to buy into Medicare – basically a big public option. That’s really not radical at all.
And if we’re talking economics rather than politics, every advanced country except America has some form of guaranteed health insurance; decades of experience show that these systems are workable; and they all have lower costs than we do. Calling for us to do what everyone else has managed to do is perfectly reasonable.
What about a jobs guarantee? Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal can be thought of as a rise in the national minimum wage to $15, combined with a sort of public option for employment in case that wage rise leads either to private-sector job losses or an increase in labor force participation.”
This section of Krugman’s post is preceded by a criticism of media comparisons of Ocasio-Cortez to Virginia’s Dave Brat. More about that in a minute.
The section quoted above is pure reductionism of what this candidate stands for. Krugman takes her platform and translates it into neoliberal-speak by reducing her ideas to those she opposes. Slick.
As for the comparison to Dave Brat? Well, it might not be such an inept idea. Dave Brat, when he was running against Eric Cantor, held views that in miles, measure as far as progressives’ do against centrists. On virtually every plank that matters, the centrist wing of the party stands firmly against. Universal Healthcare? Pelosi, Feinstein, Duckworth, Murray, just to name a few, all are against. But Krugman, quite slickly, says she probably doesn’t mean to expand Medicare to absolutely everyone. Oh? Based on what? He goes on to give Cortez’ top positions the same treatment, watering them down. Then, instead of quoting Democrats who poo-pooed the significance of Ocasio-Cortez’ win, redirects and talks about the pundits saying a candidate like her couldn’t win in the Midwest.
But it was Pelosi and, later, Tammy Duckworth, who brought that up. Again, says who? Democrats in Wisconsin? No way!
One thing is clear, centrist Democrats, if they didn’t know before Crowley was knocked out, certainly are now aware of what’s coming. The Hill’s analysis of the progressive wave that is coming gives us some apt comparisons:
“Some congressional observers are predicting that congressional progressives could emerge as the liberal equivalent of the House Freedom Caucus, a group that has been highly effectively at pushing the GOP further to the right by banding together as a conservative voting bloc.
“The Freedom Caucus has been a big player in the House because of the big Republican advances in 2010,” said Brad Bannon, a Democratic strategist. “I think that’s a good analogy for what will happen with the Democratic members.”
The Freedom Caucus, a group of roughly 30 conservative rabble-rousers, was launched in the years following the 2010 tea party wave that swept the Republicans back into power on Capitol Hill.
Now, many members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus believe their political star is on the rise, with some election experts predicting a blue wave this fall, largely fueled by anti-Trump energy on the left.
The CPC has 76 voting members in the House, and the caucus is expecting to add more lawmakers to its ranks next year after endorsing 28 candidates, like Ocasio-Cortez, this election cycle.”
When asked about precisely this, what did Nancy Pelosi come back with?
“I’m female. I’m progressive. What’s your problem?”
The problem is the misalignment on the merits of the issues by the Democratic leadership with its left flank on the one hand, and an overwhelming majority of Democratic voters, on the other. There is nowhere to hide now; not for their lead pundit, and not for the leadership. As I commented on Krugman’s blog post:
“It’s nice to see that Dr. Krugman is somewhat in Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’ corner, if only in a back-handed way. She holds a degree in economics, btw.
There is nothing radical about Democratic Socialism. Most so-called advanced nations’ democratically-elected governments are run by Democratic Socialists of one stripe or another including those Scandinavian countries Krugman has so fondly written about in the not too distant past. A strong social safety net and policies that look out for one’s citizenry are not radical ideas. In a nation in which education is delivered equally, to all, concepts like justice, civil rights, human rights, and basic human decency and cooperation aren’t foreign terms to at least one half of the nation, nor are basic historical facts so controversial, that we can’t talk about them freely, in a discussion of the day’s current and most obvious wrongs, as we are now doing when it comes to Trump’s policies when it comes to non-white humans, as Krugman did in a recent column: https://wp.me/p2KJ3H-2Tt
Calling Ocasio-Cortez a radical is no better than what some prominent Democrats had to say about the left and the Midwest and Bronx. The vast majority of Democratic voters support Ocasio-Cortez’ platform when asked about individual planks. This says more about the centrists among us than it does about the so-called “far left.”
We need new leadership.
FDR’s second bill of rights was what the nation needed. Looking at it today, how radical was it?
It really wasn’t.
As for Ocasio-Cortez’ jobs guarantee platform plank, get ready to see many more politicians who have one get elected. As we get closer to a “world without work,” this will be a necessity.
Election 2016 should have included a discussion of jobs guarantees and Universal Basic Income. It didn’t. Instead, the oligarchy and plutocracy won the day and the massive haircut to our tax laws. But make no mistake, this win is only temporary. The pendulum will swing all the way back. If America is to remain a dominant power, it cannot do so as a nation of serfs feudal lords. Corporations are owned by people who are citizens of this nation. Freeing them from the duty of citizenship is only a temporary reprieve.”
Krugman’s carefully crafted headline does an obvious job of calling Ocasio-Cortez (and Bernie Sanders) radical, while pretending not to call them that. But who can forget Krugman’s primary 2016 column, Sanders Over the Edge?
“Unfortunately, in the past few days the answer has become all too clear: Mr. Sanders is starting to sound like his worst followers. Bernie is becoming a Bernie Bro.
Let me illustrate the point about issues by talking about bank reform.
The easy slogan here is “Break up the big banks.” It’s obvious why this slogan is appealing from a political point of view: Wall Street supplies an excellent cast of villains. But were big banks really at the heart of the financial crisis, and would breaking them up protect us from future crises?”
Funny he should have written like that… Not even two years later, 33 Democrats voted to relax Dodd-Frank, under Trump. 15 Democratic Senators, under Trump, voted to relax rules that protect minorities from predatory lending. They didn’t just vote to do these things, but actually wrote the legislation and are now running on that achievement. Among them are Heidi Heitkamp and Claire McCaskill.
Oh, and the clinker? The Koch Brothers are running ads praising Heitkamp and thanking her for her help. Imagine that! This is epic!
While both parties may not have sold out to their corporate donors to the same degree, they are both beholden. Both parties’ politicians feed from the same corporate teat and, that, is at the heart of America’s problem. At the foundation of every societal problem we currently face, is rank corruption, from the very top of the political food chain, on down to the bottom. Dire consequences for Democrats over the last decade have done nothing to budge them from a losing tack.
If this keeps up, 2018 will shape up to be yet another disaster. As it is, new polling reveals that Republicans have gained back the ground they lost earlier this year. They are now leading the generic poll, according to Reuters.
Democrats were riding high until just a few weeks ago, entirely thanks to Republicans and their leader. They did nothing to maintain the momentum. Whose fault will failure to retake Congress be? Which voters will the party and mainstream media blame?
This nation isn’t only divided, it is polarized. The Democratic party hasn’t managed to excite its base in a decade. Appeasing Trump’s white voters isn’t the way to get the angry American voter to enthusiastically return to the voting booth…
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The New York Times published “Concerned by Trump, Some Republicans Quietly Align With Democrats” by Kenneth Vogel on 5/25. Many readers will find it relevant to this discussion.
“The network — composed of overlapping groups led by Democrats such as the donor Rachel Pritzker and several veteran Obama administration operatives, as well as leading Never Trump Republicans like Evan McMullin, Mindy Finn and William Kristol — aims to chart a middle path between a Republican base falling in line behind Mr. Trump and a liberal resistance trying to pull the Democratic Party left.
“If you’re a Republican who is concerned about the health of the liberal order and alarmed over the destruction of the norms of American democracy, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be willing to work with a Democrat who is equally concerned about those same matters,” said Jerry Taylor, a Republican who is president of the Niskanen Center, a moderate think tank that grew out of the libertarian Cato Institute.
While a slew of initiatives raised big money for cross-partisan bridge-building and even presidential campaigns in 2012, the current effort is different. It involves more players who are more actively involved in politics from across the spectrum, many of whom bring their own constituencies, making it less centralized and, in some ways, less organized.”
An unseen hand? An explanation for Democrats’ reticence to go after Trump? As it is, Democrats have oligarchs of their own, vying in state races.