Article first published as Thirty-one Cowardly Democrats on Technorati.
President Obama took the initiative earlier this month to use his bully pulpit and give the Democratic base a reason to get out and vote in November. He started the final weeks before the election out stumping and defining the differences between the parties. Democratic voters could feel the momentum start to build. But one week later, the cowardly lions on the left began their customary collapse, and with their tails between their legs decided to join ranks with the Republicans.
To his credit, the President first took the podium in Milwaukee on Labor Day and revealed his $50 billion infrastructure plan. Two days later he came out swinging in Cleveland and attacked the Republicans on everything from their obstructionism to their factitious support of small business. He focused much of his message on the $250,000 line drawn in the sand over the expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts and set the stage for an 8-week fight over who really represents the middle class.
But obviously not up for the fight, on Wednesday, 31 Democrats broke ranks and signed a letter to Speaker Pelosi advocating for the extension of all of the Bush tax cuts, including those for the top 2%. The letter starts with “In recent weeks, we have heard from a diverse spectrum of economists, small business owners, and families who have voiced concerns that raising any taxes right now could negatively impact economic growth.” In other words — we don’t have the courage of our convictions and believe that we may lose votes if seen as supporting tax increases.
The single page letter goes on to attempt to justify the cowardice, stating that the upper tax brackets include only 2%-3% of tax payers, but that “they are responsible for 25% of national consumer spending.” It states further that 70% of our economy is driven by consumer spending, therefore “this is not the time to jeopardize further growth.” Of course ALL of these statements are true, but the conclusion is a non sequitur fallacy.
People in the group in question would be reporting $250,000 or more in taxable income. By definition they would already have the money to continue their 25% of consumer spending. They are obviously not the people being adversely affected by the economic collapse or they wouldn’t be reporting such high income. Contrary to what the letter implies, most economists agree that the money saved by this group would largely be set away in savings and have no impact on stimulating the economy. Besides, as the President has articulated, the rich would still be receiving the very same tax relief on the first $250,000 as everyone else.
The letter also offers up the same tired Republican distortion regarding the overlap of the top 2% and small business. Reciting statistics stating that “up to one-third of high-income taxpayers are small business owners,” these Republicrats assert that expiring the cuts for the rich will cost jobs and harm the recovery. Of course they know better than that. They know that only 2%-3% of real small businesses fall in to this category. They know that the “small businesses” in this group are actually the largest law firms, hedge funds, and other elitists that employ very few people. This is pure “I’m not a tax raiser” politicking.
Liberals need to seriously consider whether or not there’s anything on the planet more cowardly than a congressional Democrat. This entire maneuver is because they’re worried that the mean old Republicans might spin their support of tax cuts for only the middle class into perceived support for raising taxes, even if on the rich . . . poor Democrats. So, instead of saying, “Hell yes! We support relief for the middle class,” the Democrats are willing to bow down again. Football fans will recognize their strategy in the many NFL teams who go into a “prevent” defense in the fourth quarter to protect a lead, and ALWAYS wind up losing. Democrats play not to lose while the Republicans play to win.
Democrats need to learn that public opinion follows spin, so instead of letting the Republicans do the spinning, the damn Democrats need to get out there and tell the story. The only reason the Republicans get away with adhering to a strict loyalty to the upper 2% and still get elected is because the Democrats allow them to get away with a constant barrage of fact-free propaganda. Republicans by necessity use distortion, hyperbole and outright lies to obfuscate their true agenda, but the Democrats are too afraid to expose them, fearing that public opinion may not roll their way.
Now, even on an issue where the Democrats are obviously acting on behalf of 98% of the population (whether the people know it or not), these cowardly 31 are still too timid to push the agenda. What exactly do these mice stand for?
Fortunately, at this point, Speaker Pelosi is holding strong, and still has the support of the majority of Democrats in the house. At least Madam Speaker has some conviction and fortitude. It’s high time that the rest of the Democrats get behind the President and help define why people should vote for them. After all, if the people want to elect a Republican, why would they vote for one who’s a Democrat?