portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary united states

government | political theory

Progressive Democrats Need to Clean House...and Senate

The cowardly and calculating decision by 19 Democrats who voted to block a filibuster against the Alito Supreme Court appointment (and by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who didn't vote) was a betrayal of liberal principles that should be rewarded by primary challenges for all those facing election in '06.

The pathetic failure of Democrats in the Senate to stick together and block the appointment of Sam Alito to the Supreme Court--a man committed to the idea of a president with unchecked, dictatatorial powers, and who favors corporations and the state over the individual--shows that it won't just do to have Democrats take over Congress in November.

The Democrats who are still in Congress--especially the leadership, but even the rank-and-file members--are so spineless and used to caving in to Republican threats that they don't even know how to stand on principle (that is, if they knew what a principle was).

This means it won't be enough to simply pick up 16 new Democratic seats in the House and six in the Senate in November. Those new seats will have to be filled by people who do stand for something. And the Democratic has-beens and imposters, like Max Baucus (D-Montana), Kent Conrad (D-N. Dakota), Joe Lieberman (D-Connecticut) and Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana)--there were 19 Democrats who voted for cloture, ending the chance of a filibuster--need to be challenged in primaries by real progressives, and punished for their betrayal of their party's traditional principles and of the Constitution.

Impeachment of the criminal and power-mad President Bush will not even be possible as long as these calculating and faux progressives continue to dominate the Democratic Party. Only a grass-roots revolt among progressives during the primaries in support of candidates like Cindy Sheehan, who has announced plans to challenge Feinstein, will produce the kind of political shift that could turn around the country's slide into authoritarianism.

And how about Sen. Byrd, who voted with the cowards? Up for election in November, this Senator who has written so passionately about the Bush administration's abuse of power and the Constitution, and who has admonished his colleagues to stand up for the traditions of the Senate showed himself to be just a gasbag, endorsing the appointment of a nominee who lied at his confirmation hearing, and whose rulings and writings show he considers Congress to be vestigial at best.

For other stories by Lindorff, please go (at no charge) to This Can't Be Happening! .

homepage: homepage: http://www.thiscantbehappening.net

hmmmm 31.Jan.2006 09:42


Better for any progressives to get out of the corrupt Democratic Party and work with people nationwide to bring about real change. The Democratic Party is nothing more than a means to direct many well intentioned people's energy into fruitless avenues.

hmmmm 31.Jan.2006 10:35


Unbelievable how people are still holding onto illusions that the Democrats are going to seriously oppose Bush. I regularly hear or read people rationalize each spineless capitulation as being strategic, that they are waiting for their chance, that they are really gonna do it, take down Bush, use the filibuster at a key moment and so on. Meanwhile, key moment after key moment passes by, and our civil rights are nearly gone, the Bill of Rights is almost history, and the Police State is upon us.

Elected Democrats CANNOT HELP US!

Some are corrupt, some are cowed by threats of anthrax and assassination (Wellstone), some just want to keep their jobs and some want to fight. If the Democratic Party were a united opposition, they would be hard pressed to stem the tide of fascism. As a disorganized body of various interests and subverted from within, they do not stand a chance.

ONLY THE PEOPLE of this country have the power, through their collective capacity to disobey, to be disobedient to the growing fascism, can change the course we are on. Do not depend upon the voting of politicians. The past two elections were the last chance for that. Now it must be the people themselves who muster the will and courage and vision to fulfill our collective hopes.

music to my ears 31.Jan.2006 12:27


very well said jason.

Dear Dave Lindorff 31.Jan.2006 12:38

please move on to the next logical step

You say: Progressive Democrats Need to Clean House...and Senate. Many progressives are finally coming to realize that the House (and Senate) needs to be RAZED. It is far too late for superficial "cleaning" to have any effect. What can the very few Progressive Democrats do to effect real change? Get the hell out of the corporate-sponsored Democratic Party!

And if Cindy Sheehan has any brains, she will not run as a democrat.

the progressive scam 31.Jan.2006 14:09


nearly all progressive "leaders", from politicians, to various organizations, including most of the progressive media, are stealth democratic party operatives.

their role is to diffuse and control dissent & steer voters back into the democratic party on election day.

The green trap 31.Jan.2006 17:10


dont correct one mistake and then make another. The Green Party contains within itself the seeds of reaction. You cannot claim to be anti-corporation and anti-war, but pro capitalism. This is the worst possible case of reformism, and is only a new name on an old, and bad idea. An anti-capitalistic, pro working class party is the only way to achieve the goals that the Green Party has no idea how to address. The Socialist Equality Party makes the Greens look like Bush's cronies.

Not just Democrats 31.Jan.2006 19:08

civic minded

Not just Democrats, or Progressives, or Librals, or Libertarians, or Greens, or (truly) conservative Republicans, or Socialists, however. Rather ALL civic minded people of all persuasions need to be thinking about cleaning house - something long overdue now for about forty years.

Please Do your Reading People! 31.Jan.2006 23:50


What is the most famous socialist society of the twentieth century? The USSR, and what is the least known socialist society of the twentieth century? Why, the Nazis (national socialism) of course! Socialism is a system of government where all capital and means of production are owned by the government, and that sucks. Now, communism on the other hand is a system where all capital and means of production are owned by the people. All of you socialists need to do some reading, and then join the communist party. And remember, people before profits, service before self, and enough is a feast!

First 01.Feb.2006 01:19


Find a Democrat who is preogressive.

Then dream about reform.