Saturday, January 21, 2006

Stupidly cautious

Hey, Beltway Democrats? Molly Ivins has a message for you:

What kind of courage does it take, for mercy's sake? The majority of the American people (55 percent) think the war in Iraq is a mistake and that we should get out. The majority (65 percent) of the American people want single-payer health care and are willing to pay more taxes to get it. The majority (86 percent) of the American people favor raising the minimum wage. The majority of the American people (60 percent) favor repealing Bush's tax cuts, or at least those that go only to the rich. The majority (66 percent) wants to reduce the deficit not by cutting domestic spending, but by reducing Pentagon spending or raising taxes.

The majority (77 percent) thinks we should do "whatever it takes" to protect the environment. The majority (87 percent) thinks big oil companies are gouging consumers and would support a windfall profits tax. That is the center, you fools. WHO ARE YOU AFRAID OF?

. . . You sit there in Washington so frightened of the big, bad Republican machine you have no idea what people are thinking. I'm telling you right now, Tom DeLay is going to lose in his district. If Democrats in Washington haven't got enough sense to OWN the issue of political reform, I give up on them entirely.

[Emphasis mine.] Meanwhile, over at Kos, John Kerry is showing his own form of courage by posting his first two diaries and sticking around to read more than 1,700 comments. He's currently something of a hero there for having lashed back at Chris Matthews with uncharacteristic bluntness for his egregious attacks on Michael Moore. (Who has already retaliated on his own, thank you very much.)

Here's my favorite comment - others said it more politely, but Felagrunt really gets the message across:

Thank you, Senator, for taking the time to communicate with us. Don't think I and we don't appreciate it, even if we don't always express our appreciation in such a way as to lead you to believe we're 100% appreciative. It's in our nature to question things; we wouldn't be here if we accepted what the media corporations saw fit to tell us.

I voted for you last November on a very pretty foggy morning in Midtown Atlanta. I pressed your name on that lying Diebold machine and who knows what it sent to its memory card? I kept refreshing the election returns all day and I know in my mind and heart that you have been the legitimate President of this rapidly-declining nation for just about exactly a year now. History will vindicate you and President Gore. I think you would have had a tough row to hoe with the situation in Iraq and the right wing firmly in control of both houses of Congress, and I honestly don't blame you for conceding even when the election was obviously stolen for you.

So what I want to know is, where have you been for the last year and where are you going? Like President Gore, you have complete legitimacy for at least 59 million people. Your seat in the Senate is yours for as long as you choose to keep it. You have nothing at all to lose and a public podium for the rest of your life.

Why are you surfing the web and fundraising?

That's a snotty-sounding question but I ask it you as a perfectly reasonable one. Why aren't you standing up like President Gore did the other day and indicting these motherfuckers, hour after hour, day after day, for the horrible crimes and sins they have wrought upon our nation and our world? What are they going to do, mock you on cable TV news? They already did their worst, and you're still a sitting Senator and half the country knows you're the legitimate President and half of the other half kind of wishes you were. Why aren't you standing on the steps of the Capitol demanding to filibuster this twit Alito, a man whose tongue has never strayed from the boots and asses of the powerful? Why aren't you using your public podium and considerable fortune to buy body armour for our soldiers -- to help raise funds from us to do this -- and shoving it in Bush's pussy little face?

Why are you and the rest of OUR party so stupidly cautious?

Maybe I answered my own question. Maybe by surfing the web and coming here and finding out what real people want -- which is someone who will stand and FIGHT, not more mealy-mouthed caution -- you'll find the... I don't know, "courage" is something that you documentedly do not lack, but "desire," "fortitude," the understanding that there are TENS OF MILLIONS of people who want you to stand up and say "J'accuse" and keep saying it until these people are in jail or hanging from lampposts.

Sorry for the rant. I do care, and I did, do and will support you.

There's something very satisfying about seeing posts like this and knowing that their target is reading them in real time, unmediated by handlers like Bob Shrum. For the record, many other comments were highly supportive, but nearly everyone had words of advice. The general themes were (1) filibuster Alito, (2) fight back and stop apologizing, (3) speak plainly, and (4) for God's sake be prepared for attacks on every Democratic candidate from every quarter.

Kerry will appear on This Week tomorrow morning - let's hope with our voices ringing in his ears.

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