Yesterday, towards the the end of the day, Axios published a piece by author Hans Nichols, Pelosi Stares Down Dissenters. The "dissenters" are a group of 9 corrupt conservatives from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, led by one of Congress' most disliked members, Josh Gottheimer. Nichols explained that "White House officials and congressional leaders have been pressing the nine throughout the weekend to withdraw their threat to vote against consideration of the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package but the lawmakers aren't budging," while right-wing senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are secretly encouraging them to blow up the whole package.
Republican-funded groups like No Labels are cheering Gottheimer and his 8 moron conspirators on. None of them are brilliant, but one of the stupidest of all-- and one of the most likely to lose reelection if the bills don't pass-- is anti-working class Georgia Blue Dog Carolyn Bourdeaux, who told Axios that "Right now, the position of the nine is we are not going to vote for the budget resolution until we get the BIF) bipartisan infrastructure bill) done. When you eat an apple, you eat it one bite at the time. We need to take the first bite, chew it and digest it and get to the next bite." Like I said, she's an idiot who doesn't belong anywhere near a governing body. In fact, she won her seat last year because the DCCC wanted to elect a conservative and they and their allies spent over $7 million dragging her ass over the finish line. I have a feeling the financiers behind No Labels won't be supporting her when she's running against a Republican.
Nichols reported that "White House and congressional officials are confident they'll eventually force the nine to back down on this week's procedural vote, though some of the nine have substantive objectives to spending an additional $3.5 trillion." Maybe they will. But many people wonder why these 9 conservatives have decided to make spectacles out of themselves in this way. What's in it for them to piss off working class Democrats?
Friday's piece in The Nation by David Bromwich-- Have Democrats Become The Party Of The Rich?-- sure helps to explain it. Remember, Gottheimer represents one of the wealthiest districts in the country, many of Wall Street's bedroom communities. Bromwich wrote that "Some recent US figures on the distribution of income by party: 65 percent of taxpayer households that earn more than $500,000 per year are now in Democratic districts; 74 percent of the households in Republican districts earn less than $100,00 per year. Add to this what we knew already, namely that the 10 richest congressional districts in the country all have Democratic representatives in Congress."
The party’s general tone sometimes seems to disparage the mass of people it cannot patronize. The truth is that property owners and shopkeepers of the middling sort, hard hit by the past 18 months if not the past 18 years, are pretty much off the radar of the new party of the rich. Even if, under Biden, the Democrats are union-friendly to an extent unimaginable in the Clinton and Obama years, the party as a whole remains closer to Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood than it is to the merchants who lost their livelihoods in the summer riots of 2020.
For all the good things they do, there are some things you can rely on the Democrats not to do. They won’t push hard for a genuinely progressive income tax. They won’t raise corporate taxes in a way that would darken the brow of Bezos and Dorsey, Zuckerberg and Gates, or increase the inheritance tax in a way that might make an impression on the grandchildren of the Stanford class of 1985. They have learned to talk about racism, which is good, with intellectual labor-saving devices like “systemic,” which is not so good. Will they ever talk so frankly about-- as Dickens put it in Our Mutual Friend-- “money, money, money, and what money can make of life”?
In other words, the bills to make life better for the working class would be paid for by higher taxes on the very rich-- and Gottheimer and his Blue Dog (and GOP) allies are having none of it. Yesterday, Bernie wrote to his supporters that "The great political challenge our country faces is whether Progressives are able to bring working people-- Black, White, Latino, Native American and Asian American-- together around an agenda that works for all or whether Trumpism will be successful in dividing us up around issues relating to racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia. Will we be successful in implementing policies based on hope, love and justice, or will Republicans prevail with messages of fear, hatred and resentment? The future of the country depends on how those questions are answered. At the end of this month I will, as Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, be holding two town meetings in congressional districts that Donald Trump won, and won big. On August 27 I will be in West Lafayette, Indiana, and on August 29 I will be in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Not only did Trump win both of those states, but Indiana and Iowa have Republican governors, Republican-dominated state legislatures and all four senators from the two states are Republicans. In other words, these are very red states."
True... but in 2016, when Bernie was running against a pack of conservatives he won Linn County (Cedar Rapids) with 6,331 votes. His conservative opponents?
Ted Cruz- 3,422
Marco Rubio- 2,825
Señor Trumpanzee- 2,344
West Lafayette is in a much redder county, Tippecanoe, and Bernie did well there too, beating Hillary and Cruz but edged by Señor T:
The working class in these areas have swung away from the Democrats and towards the GOP but many of them understand the difference between a real champion of their interests like Bernie as opposed to their class enemies-- Trump, Hillary and Cruz.
Why am I making these trips? The answer is simple. I want voters in red states, blue states and purple states to understand that Congress will soon be voting on the most significant piece of legislation to benefit working families since the New Deal and the Great Depression, and that not one Republican will vote for it. Not one. A few years ago, these very same Republicans were comfortable in voting for massive tax breaks for the rich. They were comfortable in voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act and throw over 30 million Americans off the health care they had. But now, when it comes to supporting legislation that addresses the long-neglected needs of low- and moderate-income families, they are nowhere to be found.
Further, I want Democrats, Republicans and Independents to fully understand what is in this $3.5 trillion Reconciliation Bill, how it will improve life for tens of millions of Americans and why it is so important that it be passed. I want them to understand that in a compassionate, democratic society we can have a government that works for all, and not just the wealthy few and powerful campaign contributors. I want them to understand that we can take a giant step forward in addressing such structural crises as income and wealth inequality, climate change, health care, education and housing and, in the process, create millions of good-paying jobs.
Yes. We are going to end the days of billionaires not paying their fair share of taxes by closing loopholes, while also raising the individual tax rate on the wealthiest Americans and the corporate tax rate for the most profitable companies in our country.
Yes. We will take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry, which charges U.S. residents the highest prices in the world by far for prescription drugs. Under our proposal, Medicare will finally be allowed to negotiate prescription drug prices with the industry.
Yes. We will end the absurdity of the U.S. having the highest levels of childhood poverty of almost any major nation by extending the Child Tax Credit so families continue to receive monthly direct payments of up to $300 a child. We will radically improve our dysfunctional child care system so that no working family pays more than 7% of its pretax income on child care, and we will provide universal pre-K to every 3- and 4-year-old.
Yes. We will expand higher education and job-training opportunities for students by making community college tuition-free for all Americans.
Yes. We will end the international disgrace of the U.S. being the only industrialized country not to guarantee paid family and medical leave.
Yes. We will expand Medicare for seniors to cover dental needs as well as hearing aids and glasses. We will also make sure that we have enough doctors, nurses and dentists in underserved areas, while expanding Medicaid to provide health care to the uninsured.
Yes. We will give hundreds of thousands of seniors and people with disabilities the ability to get the care they need in their own homes instead of being forced into nursing homes.
Yes. We will address homelessness and the national housing crisis by making an unprecedented investment in affordable housing.
Yes. We will provide undocumented people living in the U.S. with a pathway to citizenship, including Dreamers and the essential workers who courageously kept our economy running in the middle of a deadly pandemic.
And yes. We will finally begin the process of combating climate change by shifting our energy system away from fossil fuels and toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy. This effort will include a nationwide clean-energy standard that moves our transportation system, electrical generation, buildings and agriculture toward clean energy. We will also create a Civilian Climate Corps, which will hire hundreds of thousands of young people to protect our natural resources and fight against climate change.
When Republicans had the majority, they used the reconciliation process to pass enormous tax breaks for the billionaire class and large corporations. We are using reconciliation in a different way-- by helping ordinary Americans and creating a government that works for all, not just the few.
This gives members like Gottheimer and Bourdeaux, Cuellar and Schrader and the rest of them, nightmares. That's not the GOP-lite Democratic Party they signed up for. Any of their photos could be next to the definition of "DINO" in a dictionary.