Politics around the healthcare debate have reached fairly epic levels recently. As the bill passed I've noticed a general mood among the people I know who are even remotely politically aware that is eerily similar to the mood before and immediately after the election. Moderate Republicans have all but shut up about things after passage, meanwhile the radical factions have gone completely bonkers. [Note: for some it was not a long journey.] Democrats were whipped up at the end, and they still have a feint elation about the entire ordeal, yet the pessimism that this administration is not liberal enough soon returned.
Granted, it has been my position that this administration is neither significantly more liberal or less liberal than President Obama promised as a candidate. I also believe that by the administration and congress whipping members into passing comprehensive health care reform, among various other acts that are done or in the works, they've been very productive. Between this and credit card reform alone, I'm very happy with the first year or so of this administration.
I'm not as happy with congressional Democrats, though. They seem almost completely inept at forming any sort of narrative or defending any of their actions. I can't think of the last time that a Democratic member of the legislative branch called out the revisionist history that the Republicans are selling. The history that says that tea partiers are the majority voice of the people (which only works if you look at racial demographics) while ignoring the historic victory that brought President Obama into the White House. The history that blames Obama for the recession, ignoring that the housing crisis started during the summer of '08, and the problems that led to our crappy economy were almost completely ignored by the previous administration and the ones before it. The history that calls out as offensive almost every presidential act that Obama performs, regardless of the bipartisan precedent of that act. The history that calls the obstructionist attitudes of Republicans - who are now voting against proposals identical to those they previously drafted - maverick and revolutionary. Why aren't our representatives fighting back at this? Why isn't anyone standing up to say, "Hey, that's a lie," or "This health care plan was good enough for you when you offered a nearly identical plan as an alternative to the Clinton health care legislation."?
I believe it is because we've let our Democrat representatives grow too soft. We've mistakenly believed that a sweeping victory for Democrats in two straight elections would give them the leverage necessary to make the progressive changes we desire. We were wrong. Not in our intentions, but in our judgment. We were led to believe in the majorities we gave, but these were false majorities propped up by numerous "independents" and "blue dog" Democrats. When the other side formed a narrative that the majority was dangerous, ignoring what previous majorities on their part had done, these groups of right-leaning politicians that caucus with the Democrats completely caved, and they took the rest of their caucus with them.
I propose that we frame a new narrative for the upcoming election. I believe we should challenge every one of these worthless "Democrats" from the left. We should be upset at their inaction, cowering and inability to properly represent the people who elected them. If the Republican have RINOs, then we should properly label these politicians DINOs. Democrat In Name Only. Also, because they tend to cling to an anti-progressive agenda that ignores civil rights movements over the last five decades, we can call them DINOsaurs. They're outdated and unwanted. When they lose their office we should let them know it is not because they leaned too far left, but because they leaned too far right and we could no longer support them. We don't need them in our caucus.
We should expect some losses come this November, but they will largely be these useless barnacles that do almost nothing to further our cause. Progressives need not lament, but instead become engaged. Good riddance to these people, let's work to replace them with someone useful.