Cenk Johnson Is Right!

1 comment July 3rd, 2009at 11:22am Posted by Eli

Cenk makes a great case for the Sanders Doctrine:

What is the point of getting to 60 senators in the Democratic caucus if you can’t keep the caucus together on all of the votes? Well, Bernie Sanders has the answer:

“I think that with Al Franken coming on board, you have effectively 60 Democrats in the caucus, 58 and two Independents. I think the strategy should be to say, it doesn’t take 60 votes to pass a piece of legislation. It takes 60 votes to stop a filibuster. I think the strategy should be that every Democrat, no matter whether or not they ultimately end up voting for the final bill, is to say we are going to vote together to stop a Republican filibuster. And if somebody who votes for that ends up saying, ‘I’m not gonna vote for this bill, it’s too radical, blah, blah, blah, that’s fine.'” (emphasis added)

I love this Sanders Rule. It makes perfect sense. This is the whole point of having 60 senators in your caucus. I don’t need or want ideological rigidity on the Democratic side. I believe in the Big Tent. So, how people vote is up to them. But getting these bills to the floor to get up and down votes is absolutely necessary. This is part and parcel of being in the caucus. Not just in healthcare, but all of the bills must have up and down votes (but by far the most important thing right now is to include a public option in the healthcare bill that gets an up and down vote).


If they squander this – with control of the White House, a huge majority in the House, a filibuster proof majority in the Senate and all of the national polls behind them – then they were lying. They never intended to bring us change in the first place. The lobbyists will have won. And Obama’s presidency will be like all of the others. A lot of bullshit promises and no change despite every conceivable advantage. If they can’t get it done under these circumstances, then they can never get it done – nor did they ever want to.

There are so many centrist wankers in the Democratic caucus that I’m not actually 100% sure that a good bill can even pass an up-or-down vote, but I’d at least like to see it have that chance.  And if there have to be sacrifices, better to make smaller compromises to win over, say, Webb or McCaskill than the larger ones that would be needed to win over Collins or Snowe.

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Healthcare,Politics

1 Comment

  • 1. Cujo359  |  July 3rd, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    If they can’t get it done under these circumstances, then they can never get it done – nor did they ever want to.

    I know the answer to that one. They don’t. If they did, they would have been able to accomplish something during the last congress. At the very least, they could have made Bush start an exit plan for Iraq. They could have held up any number of budget items until Bush conformed to the law. They didn’t even try.

    I keep saying I’d rather have 41 progressive Senators who are willing to filibuster the most excessive bills and the worst court nominees than to have 60 Democratic Senators of the sort we have now. Unfortunately, mine’s a distinctly minority opinion.

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