The absurdity that is the Senate legislative agenda under the Republican leadership is pretty nearly rivaled by the Senate Democrats' hand wringing, finger pointing and most of all, lack of action. Those of us who were at YearlyKos, or those who watched on CSPAN, got to hear speech after speech by our Democratic leaders railing against the corrupt and incompetent Republican Congress.
Some of these leaders, including Warner and Dean are not in positions now where they can use their offices to stop the corrupt Republican juggernaut in its tracks. However, those like Senators Boxer and Reid, who gave rousing speeches (although I unfortunately had to leave before Reid gave his). I was lucky enough to be able to ask Senator Boxer a question, and I asked her about the Senate Democrats' plans to invoke Rule 21, as Reid did last year, in order to force a closed door session and debate any of a myriad of Republican/administration crimes, or even their own policies and agenda.
Sadly, her reply was less than acceptable.
While she did say that it was something that they would like to do in the future, they were "holding it in their back pocket" for the right time. And oh, by the way, tell Senator Reid that you really approved of his action. Which brings me to this diary, and an idea that I was hoping that Senator Boxer would understand.
Now, I can see the worry about doing something bold, after all being comfortable and safe has gotten them to keep their jobs and not have to worry about, you know, governing and the tough stuff like that. But even as more and more people are getting fed up with the Republican crimes, corruption and policies (hell, I had this exact conversation with my mother yesterday), they STILL don't know what the Democrats would do, or what their plan is, or why they should vote FOR Democrats (as opposed to just voting AGAINST Republicans).
Should we really be spending our time hearing about (and you be spending your time debating) amending the constitution to abolish same sex marriage? Or flag burning? Or shielding oil companies from windfall profits tax? Or repealing the estate tax in order to make the obscenely wealthy even more obscenely wealthy?
Or should we be talking about illegal wiretapping of Americans? Or illegal leaks of classified information by the administration for political purposes? Or lies that got this country into an illegal and immoral occupation of a sovereign country? Or illegal use of governmental agencies to pay "reporters" to push their policies? Or fixing our voting system so there isn't so much question as to fair elections (whether it be 2000, 2002, 2004 or the recent election in CA-50)? Or crime and corruption amongst our Republican leaders? Or pre-invasion "intelligence lapses"?
OK, so you don't want to only be negative and be branded as "obstructionists"? You don't want to focus on the "bad things" that have already been done? So how about YOUR own agenda? It's right there and already laid out. I bet many Americans (probably a vast majority of them) would love to hear about how their elected officials are discussing items in your "Six Point Plan for 2006", which includes REAL issues like honest leadership and open government. Or real security. Or energy independence. Or economic prosperity and educational excellence. Or a health care system that works for everyone. Or retirement security.
Now those are issues that should be discussed in the Senate. And here's the thing: THEY CAN BE DISCUSSED IN THE SENATE. NOW.
So, I challenge you, Senate Democrats, to actually use what you have at your disposal and show this country, and the world, that you have the guts. The plans. The ability to stand up to the Republican bullies and take back this country. NOW. Not in November. Especially since it is a tough road to win back both Houses of Congress. Even moreso since you aren't going to get a mouthpiece in the RWCM.
How, you ask? Well, you should already know, but how is this for a plan?
For starters, how about suspending unanimous consent so that these nonsense discussions drag out all day and therefore don't ever get to a vote? And while we are at it, how about this for a bold move that would all but guarantee that Americans take a new look at voting for Democrats when they haven't in the past:
Pick a week. Any week. Something close to July 4 would work wonders from a "marketing standpoint", so you can tie this into taking back our country and making people proud to have our leaders standing up for We the People again. Then, invoke Rule 21 every day for that week. Force the issue. Make the public aware that you won't roll over for the Republican agenda of lying, greed, corruption and cronyism. And each day, invoke Rule 21 for a different reason.
You can push your agenda. You can make it to raise public awareness of how your agenda is different from that which is currently being pushed. How your agenda cares about We the People, while the Republican agenda results in lies, perpetual invasions and wars of aggression, taking money from everyone and giving it to the ultra-wealthy and corporate cronies, lowering of educational and environmental standards. Debate your healthcare proposals vs. that which has been passed and pursued by the Republicans. Show how you would make the US safer from terrorism, as opposed to what is not being done now. Contrast your education policies with the farce that is "No Child Left Behind". Provide some detail on your energy policies against the current "invade your country and steal your oil" policies.
If you would rather not push your agenda now, that is fine. There are PLENTY of crimes and unethical acts that have been taken by this administration and the Republican Congress. I listed some above. There are more than enough to fill up a week's worth of closed door sessions.
And here is the biggest thing - the public would welcome this. They want to move on. Their view of Republicans is at a low. Their view of Congress is also at a low. Their view of this administration is at a low. Their view of whether this country is on the right track is at a low. Their trust in the mainstream media and their elected leaders in general is at a low.
Let them know why this is necessary. Hold a press conference on the steps of the Capitol every day that week, and for a few days afterwards. DARE Bill Frist to try and invoke the nuclear option in order to stop these actions. Then show the country what a farce he is and what obstructionists the Republicans are. Go on all of the Sunday talking meatstick shows and give the clear, concise and consistent message as to why this is necessary. Maybe a message that sounds like this:
We are here to let you know why we have taken the steps that we have taken. Why we are using whatever tools are available to us as a minority party to show that we are serious about taking back this nation. We simply will not stand for declining healthcare, for skyrocketing gas and oil prices, for declining educational standards, for lies, cronyism and corruption that are killing our children, our brave soldiers and bankrupting our country. This must stop, and since the Republicans in Congress and this Administration do not care about the American public and are not acting as leaders, it is our duty as Democrats to do so ourselves.
We need this now. We can't wait another 6 or 8 or 12 or 24 months. I wrote a diary a few weeks ago saying that these are desperate times and we are dying (literally) for leadership.
So, please Please PLEASE: show us some leadership. Now.
November may very well be too late.