Kos Explains Why The Democrats Could Use A Little More Purity

December 8th, 2009at 06:19pm Posted by Eli

Wow, a congressional Democrat supporting a slightly-more-progressive Democratic primary challenger!  It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it’s actually exceedingly rare.  As kos writes, congressional Democrats are all about protecting their own, no matter how corrupt or disloyal they may be:

Yet for all their troubles in maintaining their united front on the floor of Congress, elected Democrats have remained united on electoral matters. Note how no one came to Ned Lamont’s aid during the 2006 Connecticut Democratic primary, even though he Lieberman was already a cancer inside the Democratic Party. Even corrupt Democrats get a pass, which cost us William Jefferson’s seat in New Orleans, and could’ve proved troublesome in Al Wynn’s Maryland district until the voters solved the problem by electing Donna Edwards instead.

So for the Democrats, it is significant for [Barney Frank] to endorse a primary challenger. He is the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, one of the most powerful, and he’s bucked his establishment to back an insurgent candidate against an entrenched, White House-backing incumbent. Elected Democrats could certainly use some internal pressure for party unity. Gay marriage failed in New York because promised “yes” votes from Republicans failed to materialize. And why did they chicken out? They were all afraid of being Scozzafava’d. DeMint’s support of Doug Hoffman may have cost Republicans the seat, but it preserved marriage discrimination – a tradeoff they would make any day of the week.

We need a little bit of that enforced party unity, and any help we can get from within the caucus helps build credibility for primary insurgents. We need more Barney Franks, particularly one in the Senate, to help provide some much needed tension between elected officials who care about the kind of work Congress does, and a party establishment that is issue agnostic, and cares only about whether an incumbent has an “R” or “D” after their name.

“Joe Sestak is a true Democrat who cares about the working families that have been hit hardest by the failed economic policies of the Bush Administration,” Frank said. “He’ll be a reliable vote for Pennsylvania’s next generation instead of having the same loyal Bush Republican we’ve seen over the past generation. I have to say I don’t think it did our profession any good for someone to announce that he switched parties purely so he could survive.”

That certainly applies in this Pennsylvania Senate race, but Specter isn’t the only suspect Democrat inside our caucus. Far too many are making common cause with Republicans while pretending to be Democrats. A few more primary challenges might convince recalcitrant Democrats to support their party’s top priorities, and a culture that encourages such challenges, even if it angers the DSCC and DCCC, would certainly be welcome, and clearly help Democrats advance their now-stymied policy goals.

Corrupt and conservative Democrats (often one and the same) behave like there are no consequences to their actions because there are no consequences to their actions.  As long as they can continue to be assholes with impunity, they will continue to obstruct needed reforms and make the Democrats look weak at best, corrupt and complicit at worst.

A big tent is fine, but it shouldn’t be so big that it embraces Republicans and crooks, nor so lopsided that its right has more power than its left.

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Elections,Pittsburgh/PA,Politics


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