by D. Cupples | I've been on a break from feverishly following the (generally gut wrenching) goings on in our nation's capital. Occasionally, I've peeked out of my cave to see if there's solid cause for hope -- as opposed to those empty words that were filling the air like motes of dust a couple years ago.
Today, I peeked out because a friend had sent me a link to a Firedoglake blog post by Jane Hamsher. You can check it out here.
The upshot: the Obama Administration and many Congressional Democrats have gone and alienated donors that they now seem to need as the November elections loom ahead. It amounts to bad strategy, as Jane points out:
"Sucking up to our Wall Street overlords while dog whistling to your base is not as easy as the GOP makes it look."
Two concepts seem to be at the root of Beltway Dems' dismal situation:
1) Lack of purpose
The GOP really has worked some magic: i.e., convincing five-digit earners to raise their swords (and empty their wallets) in support of the seven-digit-plus set (people who don't give a damn about their far-less-elite supporters).
How did GOP leaders do it? They have an impressive ability to identify their purpose, focus on it, and avoid betraying the people to whom they are most beholden.
During eight years of Mr. Bush (six of them with a GOP-controlled Congress), we repeatedly watched the people who control our government "suck up" to big Wall Street players and other deep-pocket folks.
In 2005, for example, credit card companies (which raked in billions by charging us double-digit interest rates) wanted a more creditor-friendly set of bankruptcy laws. The then-Republican president and Congress didn't mess around: fueled by a massive sense of purpose, they stayed on task and re-did the bankruptcy code.
It's amazing what people can accomplish when they refuse to lose sight of their purpose.
Why the massive sense of purpose? Because those GOP politicians knew who'd been buttering their bread and knew that betraying the butterers would reduce campaign donations. It's pretty simple: money in, money out.
From 2001-06, the finaincial-industy players pressed for more lax regulations: regulations that left us ordinary folks (and our financial system) unprotected, all so that even more money would flow into industry players' pockets.
Fueled by the old massive sense of purpose, the GOP-controlled government took a laissez faire stance -- time and time again.
In 2008, after our financial system undeniably started breaking down, what did the then-Republican administration do? Fueled by the old massive sense purpose, it scared Congress into bailing out the folks who'd driven our financial system into the ditch in the first place. Yes, the drivers were major sources of campaign cash.
But it wasn't just Republican politicians. Congress was controlled by Democrats, many of whom went along with Henry Paulson's bailout plan. Why? Because many of those Dems had taken stacks of campaign cash from the same bread butterers as their GOP colleagues had.
In other words, many Dems were fueled by the old massive sense of purpose.
Check out the Center for Responsive Politics, and see who was giving them money before the 2008 election (before the massive bank-bailout).
I could go on with examples, but I'll get to the point instead: many Beltway Dems lacked a truly public-oriented sense of purpose: i.e., they weren't truly committed to things like improving health care for us ordinary folks, protecting our jobs, or holding Bush Administration players accountable for likely illegal acts.
Yeah, most of those politicans did tell us they had public-oriented purposes. They also told us to have hope (and with mantra-esque repetiveness). Motes of dust.
If those Dems had been committed to public-oriented purposes, it would not have been so easy for them to betray us -- the very people whose millions of votes got them elected to office.
Apparently, many Beltway Dems learned the wrong things from their GOP colleagues. Dems who manage to stay in Congress after November had better learn the right stuff:
1) to develop and focus on a purpose, and
2) to avoid betraying the folks who butter their bread.
But here's the crucial first step: they must realize -- though it should have been obvious after Election 2008 -- that we ordinary folks (who control millions of votes and want good health care, good jobs, clean air, a solid education system, etc.) are the very people who butter the Democratic Party's bread.