Friday, July 30, 2010

A. Weiner Is You, Once Again

Oliver Willis, TPM, and Steve Benen all flag down this impressive video of NY Dem Anthony Weiner unleashing 2 minutes of hell upon the House GOP for blocking medical funding for 9/11 victims.

Benen details the story behind this awesome display.
So, as Republicans see it, we can afford tax breaks for billionaires. But care for 9/11 victims, not so much.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), perhaps best known for his apology to BP after the company's oil spill, "said the rest of the country should not bear the brunt of helping New Yorkers cope with the aftermath of the terror attacks." [Update: To clarify, this is a paraphrase from the New York Daily News, not a direct quote of Barton.]

How could House Republicans kill the bill in a majority-rule chamber? As it turns out, Dems brought the measure to the floor as a "suspension bill," because they didn't want the GOP to try to gut the legislation with poison-pill amendments. But this strategy meant the bill needed a two-thirds majority to pass. The final vote was 255 to 159 -- far short of the two-thirds threshold -- with 155 Republicans in opposition, many of them saying they would consider supporting the bill, but only if the GOP were allowed to push unrelated amendments intended to embarrass the majority.
And so the GOP scuttled it.  $687 billion for tax cuts for the wealthy, Republicans are behind that 100%.  $7.4 billion for 9/11 victims' health care concerns?  "Why should my tax dollars help those damn New York liberals?"

Weiner destroys them for it.  "You vote yes if you believe yes. You vote in favor because it's the right thing."

Naturally the response from some on the Left is that Weiner should have kept his mouth shut.
Weiner repeatedly yelled about the GOP's "shame," but this misses the point. Republicans are not going to be shamed into doing what Dems want them to do. Republicans are pursuing a concerted game plan here that Dems need to reckon with more directly.

Indeed, Dems would be far better served if they kept calmly repeating that Republicans want government to fail, in order to breed cynicism and to get voters to give up on the idea that government works for them.

By the way, there's precedent for this. Remember when former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle erupted on the Senate floor in 2002 in response to Bush's rank politicization of national security in the runup to the midterm elections? That didn't work, either.

To be clear, I'm all for the kind of passion Weiner is showing here, but let's direct it properly. Don't get into a shouting match about procedure. As emotionally satisfying as it may be to watch, raging against the GOP opposition machine's successful efforts to tie Dems in knots just makes Dems look whiny, weak and impotent.
Right, and Dems saying  "The Dems are wrecking the economy!" won't be called whiny, weak, and impotent either.  The point is Greg that anything passionate Dems say about what the GOP is doing will be dismissed as whining, so dismissing what Weiner is saying as whining only feeds that narrative.

How about a little credit here?  Weiner's right, after all.

Damn, and people wonder why Dems fold like lawn chairs.  When we got somebody that actually stands up and says what needs to be said, we nitpick on procedure and complain they're coming across as whiny.

In the end, A. Weiner is still you.

Epic Weiner.

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