Thursday, April 21, 2011


So I've been a big believer in  PAYGO and trying to live it out in my activism.  I'm not talking about this thing in Congress where they have to justify new spending, but in my own life when it comes to giving money to the Democrats.

The thing is, I've gotten a lot of calls recently from the DNC, the Democratic Senate Campaign, and a bunch of other Democratic fundraising institutions.  So far I haven't given money.  This isn't to say I haven't given to the Dems, I have, on multiple occasions in the past, but I've stopped for now.

And when they ask me why I tell them I believe in PAYGO

Here, take a look at this thing Rachel has put her finger on...

See, when the Republicans were in control under Bush, I didn't like the way things were going.  So I ponied up and gave to the party that I thought would make the difference.  I gave to individual campaigns as well as the DNC.  And they won!

So the Dems held both Houses of Congress and the Presidency, and I expected Change.  The kinds of Change that was talked about during the election.  And yes, I'm one of those who believes that not enough Change has happened.

It's not that I don't believe in trying to find a bi-partisan solution to issues.  I do. But the Republicans didn't want compromise - they wanted it their way.  And no matter what the Dems did, the Republicans fought it tooth and nail.  Look, when you get kicked in the nuts repeatedly by the people you're trying to find compromise with, you ought to realize that they don't want to compromise, and that they sorta enjoy kicking you there.

And throughout this time I kept getting solicitations saying "We need money to stay in power, so we can keep those Republicans at bay,"  and I thought "you've got both Houses of Congress and the Presidency - make something happen."

So the Dems finally got health care passed.  When they did - I call them up (ok, I used the internet and did it electronically but the thought is the same), and I donated.  (Though I don't think the bill went far enough).

Then came the lead up to the mid-terms and here came the calls again.  "We need money to keep the House!".

"Honestly", I thought, "what for?  You didn't do all that much when you had it."

And when they passed the finance reform during the lame duck session I donated again.  (Though for the record, I don't think that went far enough either).

Now reflecting on Rachel's thesis - that the Democrats in Congress are embarrassed by or ignore their base - I think she's right.  There seems to be this notion that the Republicans are so horrible that we should just give to the Democrats to keep them in office.  And that fear tactic does have some merit.

But if the best we can do is to hold the status quo versus letting things get worse, how will things ever get better?  If the Democrats won't use their power when they have it, why should I expect them to be able to stop the Republicans when they don't?

Think back to the debate around the Patriot Act.  Did the Dems stand firm and unified agaist this massive encroachment of our rights?  No.  67 Dems rolled over and voted for it in the House.  And only 1 Democratic Senator voted against it (Sen. Feingold) and only 10 voted against it when it was up for renewal.

Going to war?  Same thing... a ton of House Dems and Senators voted to give Bush the authority to go to war.

But what are the Dems fighting for now?  They continue to adopt Republican talking point, allow huge cuts to progressive programs, extend the Bush tax cuts... And we have hundreds of thousands of people marching.  Far more than the tea party ever had.  So they put Medicare and Social Security on the table.

I'm frustrated by the lack of action on behalf of the Dems.  That's why I believe in PAYGO... I'll pay as we go.  I'll give them money when they get stuff done.  But I won't pay for the empty promises that they'll fight the Republicans.  I just don't believe them anymore.

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