When Will Democrats Get Pissed Off Enough to Be Effective?

“Republicans are trying to keep you from voting. They’re trying to keep you from having any power. The people who have the most money and power in America want to keep it, and they want to keep you from screwing up the rigged game they’re running and winning.”

Where are the Democrats crying out to high heaven with words like this?

“Republicans are trying to take away your vote. There’s no big vote-fraud problem. The problem Republicans are trying to correct is that black people are voting, the problem is Hispanic people are voting, the problem is you are voting and they don’t want you to. The problem is there’s a black liberal in the White House and he got there with your legal votes. That’s the problem the people with power in this country are trying to correct. And don’t let them do it!”

Come on, spit it out, tell it like it is. Enough political round-about talk. Get angry, stand up and holler, wake people up!

In my benighted state of Florida, our corporate-criminal governor Rick Scott and the Republican legislature are trying to suppress the vote three ways — by purging 50,000 and more names from existing voting rolls, by making it harder to register new voters, and by shortening the voting period. Thank God for federal courts and the Justice Department, which, from the Civil Rights movement to Watergate, have often been the only check on executive and legislative crooks.

A federal judge just struck down much of the Florida vote-restricting law, saying blocking that law would not “in any way” damage Florida. More directly, the judge wrote,”Before the adoption of the 2011 statute, the state was operating under provisions that, at least insofar as shown by this record, were working well.”

So what problem were the Republicans in Florida trying to correct? Not voter fraud, but voting.

In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker says those opposing him don’t like him standing up to the special interests.

Democrats should be standing on the rooftops hollering to the public — “The special interests are YOU! Walker is trying to screw YOU. Wake the hell up, Wisconsin. This isn’t just about unions, it’s about people who are well off trying to keep the people who have less in their place. It’s about keeping those with less power from getting more — through unions, through environmental and financial regulations that keep the powerful from doing whatever the hell they want. Don’t let them do it!”

The only Democrat I see who has fire on this issue is John Lewis of Georgia, who was beaten on the Edmund Pettus bridge and who now says with righteous fire that people died for the right to vote, his friends died for the right to vote, and we can’t let people’s right to vote be taken away.

Where’s Willie Stark when we need him? Listen to this scene from All The Kings Men, when the candidate says the powerful are treating the voters like hicks. “Well I’m a hick just like you,” he yells, and we can’t let them keep us down.

– Bruce Benidt
(I was ranting to Lisa about this stuff so loudly that I scared the cat — so I thought I’d purge myself by writing it down.)

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14 Responses

  1. Well I’m glad you ranted. We all need to be ranting! We all need to Nail Em Up!!!

    Like you, I am increasingly frustrated with the timidity of so many politicians. We need to raise hell!!!

    Thank you.

  2. Bruce! I love drama like this. I love politicians like this. In fact, didn’t Obama’s 2008 message “Yes We Can” resonate the same way as “Nail ‘Em Up”?

    What happened?

    I believe the problem is not with the already believin’ Democrat. It’s with those of what I call the “Me-More-Now” party. These are people whose views of the good life have nothing to do with the civic life; rather, they have to do with driving a Lexus (that they scarcely afford) and wishing it were a Benz. And the only reason it isn’t a Benz is because they’re giving up their tax dollars to support someone somewhere that isn’t them.

    MMNers like to tell you they’re “Independent” voters; in fact, they boast about it. They use the term with a capital “I” as if it sets them gloriously apart from the rabble below (Democrats) and the corporate screws above (Republicans) when, in fact, they will support anyone who lines the MMNers’ own pockets with a little bit more lucre.

    That’s not being independent; it’s being unprincipled.

    So while the Ds and the Rs make fools of themselves passionately slugging it out, the MMNer thinks he is rising above it all when, in fact, he might be the biggest chump of all.

    • Good stuff, HMB and Ellen.
      I fear the Know-Nothing party. Not the original nativist party, but the huge clot of Americans who know nothing, just watch the Housewives of Jersey Landfill and wonder who took away their pensions and their public schools. The uninformed American is today’s Ugly American.

    • WI public employees average $83K/year total comp. Most work in air-conditioned buildings, work <40 hours/week, will earn 75% of the highest career wage in retirement, receive highly subsidized healthcare premiums, get 40 days of PTO/year, etc.

      Would anyone here care to argue that WI's private sector taxpayers – the ones paying the freight – do this well, that they're avaricious and greedy?

      Big Public Labor pays Dem politicians $ for concessions. Dems get re-relected by Big Public Labor, and so on.

      Please share with us who represents the taxpayer in the equation?

      (Insert gratuitous Koch brothers/corporate interests reference here. It still doesn't answer the question.)

  3. Newt: Where in the world did you get this propaganda? If the average pay of Wisconsin public employees is $83K comp, that means that half of the employees make more than that. Don’t believe it. Also don’t believe they get 40 days PTO/year or that all will earn 75% pensions. (BTW: A pension is a deferred compensation a WORKER pays for. It’s not paid for by any taxpayer.)
    So: name your authoritative source here, please.

  4. Source: Chris Matthews, David Axelrod

    • “Wisconsin is typical. State, city and school district workers earned an average of $50,774 in wages and benefits in 2009, about $1,800 more than in the private sector. The state ranked 33rd in public employee compensation among the states and Washington, D.C. It had ranked 20th in 2000.”
      –USA Today, March 2, 2011.

      Newt, compensation could not have risen $33 grand in a year, not when the unions agreed to givebacks.

      As Al Sharpton says, “We’re all entitled to our own opinions, but not to our own facts.”

      • And, Newt, if Walker survives the recall, will he next go after that air conditioning that those lazy government workers so don’t deserve?

      • Actually, I believe the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan is the coiner of that particular axiom.

  5. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average government employee receives total compensation (wages and benefits combined) worth almost $83,000 a year. The average private sector worker receives approximately $61,000 in total compensation.

    This is why there is NO sympathy in Wisconsin, or elsewhere, for the “plight” of Big Public Labor. Tomorrow will be the tipping point when taxpayers reclaim the driver’s seat. We’ve been hijacked by 14% of the labor force for far too long.

  6. Newt: I’ve been wading through BLS stats for Wisconsin and it’s crazy how hard it is to find a nice simple XLS to answer my question.
    But, really, I think we’ve been hijacked by the .01% and the sooner everyone who works for a living realizes it, the better we’ll all be. When we fight amongst ourselves, the super-rich laugh at how gullible we are.

  7. just to illuminate our discussion–and to disabuse all of you who think that this coming election will resolve any of this:

    Pew finds that partisanship is growing and getting worse:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/partisanship-doesnt-seem-worse-it-is-worse/2012/06/04/gJQAJIuzDV_blog.html

    really interesting findings on how far apart Republicans and Democrats really are–and where it is worst is on the scope of government.

  8. Newt, good correction to me on total comp, thanks.And we’ll see tomorrow how much sympathy there is for public workers — you may well be right.
    One of the problems here is the “divide and conquer” strategy of Walker and his ilk. “Someone else” is the problem — public workers, immigrants, communists, Morris dancers, anybody not us, as Ellen said above.
    Paying government workers well is good for the economy, I’d assert.
    And the economy was not ruined by public workers, but by speculators and militarists and Republicans too cowardly to pay for the wars they so eagerly jump into.
    But I’m repeating myself.
    Good discussion.
    Jim, thanks for the Moynihan reference.

  9. Bruce – I’m not suggesting that we pay government employees poorly, just less on average than those who pay their freight.

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