The juice of a carrot, the smile of a parrot
A little drop of claret, anything that rocks
Dan Pfeiffer wrote this morning that optimism doesn’t come easy to him but that he’s feeling less pessimistic about the midterms now. Ever hear of Ian Drury and the Blockheads? They had another song that people loved back in the ‘70s besides “Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll.” That song above, “Reasons to Be Cheerful, Part 3,” was another of their underground hits. Underground in America; it was Top 10 in the U.K. “Up until recently,” wrote Pfeiffer, “Democrats were stuck in a doom loop. That defeatism threatened to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. What activist, donor, or voter wants to sign up for a suicide mission? And to be honest, it’s been hard to make a reasonable, fact-based case that Democrats could upend the historical trends. However, over the last few weeks, the worm has turned. Democrats now have a legitimate shot to outpace expectations dramatically.” Drury was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 1996. He died in 2000, age 57.
Pfeiffer admits his case for Democrats is “credible bull.” He begins, as anyone would with the fact that “All political analysis should begin with the fact that America has a growing, diverse, pro-truth, pro-democracy, anti-MAGA majority. Now, of course, this majority is not evenly distributed geographically, which is why the GOP often has an advantage in the Senate and Electoral College. But the bulk of the races this cycle will be conducted in states Joe Biden won in 2020. Simply reconstructing the Biden coalition in composition and turnout will be sufficient to win. Our major problem to date has been disillusion and disappointment among our base and the Independent voters who favor Biden.” His first reason for optimism is some kind of cockamamie claim to success.
He wrote that “In rapid succession, Democrats passed legislation on guns, microchips, veterans’ benefits, and the historic Inflation Reduction Act. Democrats now have reasons to be happy, and Independents have reasons to reconsider supporting Republicans. More specifically, the climate change provisions are an opportunity to re-engage young voters.”
Key word here is “Bull.” Is anything in his litany of Democratic "success" anything voters will care about at all? It’s all compromised crap. Even the lower cost of drugs accomplishment— which voters do care about and could have been meaningful— only includes 10 drugs, not 100s— and the process won’t start to go down for 4 years. The Democrats’ “accomplishments” are just like more reasons forepeople to hate their guts. Why not do something straight-forward… like raise the minimum wage? I almost forgot… their Arte Democrats opposing that, including one, Maggie Hassan, running for reelection who the Democratic Party is demanding everyone vote for.
This afternoon, Bernie sent an e-mail to his supporters explaining his own ambivalence towards the Build Back Worse legislation that Pfeiffer referred to as “the historic Inflation Reduction Act.” Bernie tried to make it better, failed and voted for it anyway. “This bill,” he wrote, “was a chance to do big things. It did very modest things. It was a chance to stand up boldly for the working families of our country and restore their faith in government. It didn’t… We still have a long way to go to create the kind of economic, social, racial, and environmental justice the people of our country deserve.”
He explained that the Democrats “could have taken a significant step forward in addressing the major economic, social, and environmental crises facing our country. That's not what happened. Two corporate Democrats, Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema, both of whom receive huge amounts of campaign contributions from powerful special interests, prevented that from happening. The result is that this bill does nothing to reform our dysfunctional, wasteful, and cruel health care system. It does nothing to address the massive levels of income and wealth inequality and concentration of ownership that we are currently experiencing. It does nothing to raise the starvation minimum wage or make it easier for workers to join unions. It does nothing to build the millions of units of affordable housing we need. It does nothing to address the crisis of childhood poverty and a totally inadequate childcare system. It does nothing to address the home health care crisis facing our seniors and people with disabilities. It does nothing to expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing, and vision care. It does nothing to make it easier for young Americans to get a higher education, or pay off their student debt. It does nothing to move us forward toward immigration reform or voting rights reform.”
So why did he vote for it? There is more to it than just being a team player and giving the Democrats the kind of political lifeline Pfeifer was pretending will change the doom loop.
This legislation makes important investments in clean energy and energy efficiency. At a time when we face the existential crisis of climate change, the most significant part of this bill is an unprecedented $300 billion investment in clean energy, including a $7 billion solar roof top proposal that I introduced. This bill could help increase U.S. solar energy by 500 percent and more than double wind energy by 2035. That is no small thing.
And let me be clear. An investment in clean energy of this size did not happen by accident. It occurred because the progressive community has been pressuring the political system for years to act with urgency on this life-and-death issue, and we should be proud of what we accomplished. Is the funding in this bill for sustainable energy and energy efficiency large enough? No. Does it include a Civilian Climate Corps that calls a generation of young people into service to help build a better sustainable future? No. But, all and all, it is a major step forward in addressing the enormous climate crisis the planet faces.
But here is the very negative aspect of this bill. Unbelievably, at a time when we are trying to cut carbon emissions, this bill provides massive giveaways to the fossil fuel industry. Under this legislation, up to 60 million acres of public waters must be offered up for sale each and every year to the oil and gas industry before the federal government could approve any new offshore wind development. And that’s not all. The fossil fuel industry will benefit from a side deal that would approve the $6.6 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline— a fracked gas pipeline that would span 303 miles from West Virginia to Virginia, and potentially on to North Carolina. This is a pipeline that would generate emissions equivalent to that released by 37 coal plants or by over 27 million cars every year and is vigorously opposed by the environmental community. It is beyond comprehension that these anti-environmental provisions are in the bill.
In terms of prescription drugs this bill takes a small step forward in doing something that progressives have demanded for years. The good news is that it will allow Medicare to negotiate the outrageously high price of prescription drugs and lower drug costs. The bad news is that these negotiations won't go into effect until 2026 and they will begin with only 10 drugs. Under this bill we will continue paying, by far, the highest prices in the world for our medicines for the indefinite future.
In terms of tax policy, this bill begins the work of making the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share in taxes by imposing a 15 percent minimum tax on corporations. It is a step forward when large profitable corporations will no longer be able to completely avoid paying their taxes. Further, this legislation gives the IRS the resources they need to pursue the estimated $1 trillion in taxes not paid by the wealthiest people in this country, and will help ordinary, working people get their returns faster.