Saturday, May 30, 2015

When the Democrats' big tent is too big (I mean you Rep. Delaney)

By Richard Barry

In a Washinton Post op-ed, House Democrat Rep. John Delaney (Md.) complains that the left has "hijacked" the party's message.
"With Washington already broken, the last thing we need is a left-wing version of the tea party. But I am worried about where some of the loudest voices in the room could take the Democratic Party."

Without naming names, Delaney says that the "party microphone has been hijacked by people more interested in scoring points than in solving problems."

High on his list of issues on which he believes some fellow Democrats are being unhelpful is President Obama's request for fast-track trade authority, which opponents believe "would favor corporations and put U.S. workers in competition with low-wage workers in other countries."

Delaney also has a problem with Democrats, presumably including Bernie Sanders, who want to expand Social Security. 

"They propose expanding Social Security rather than prioritizing serious efforts to preserve the program — even though it will be unable to provide full benefits as soon as 2032, the Congressional Budget Office has made clear," Delaney said. "The only way a large-scale expansion could work is by allocating new revenue away from needed investments in the next generation or by shifting the financial burden to workers or our children."

But here's my favourite.  Delaney is concerned with those in his party who he says want to "relitigate the financial crisis" of 2008.
"Although these subjects may make for good partisan talking points, they do not provide the building blocks for a positive and bold agenda to create jobs and improve the lives of Americans," Delaney wrote.

He wrote that the "time-consuming rhetoric attacking banks ... has little chance of producing more financial reform and distracts from far more consequential areas of economic risk."

"Our values tell us to care more about people than institutions and to judge success not by the performance of the most fortunate but by the whole of society.”

Where to begin?  Well, I would suggest that no one is forcing Rep. Delaney to like or accept the ideas some of his Democratic colleagues are proposing, whether on free trade, Social Security expansion or Wall Street regulation. But, like them or not, these ideas are actually about solving problems and not simply scoring points. Again, agree or disagree, that's your prerogative, but to suggest that those with whom you disagree are not serious, or that Democrats proposing ideas you reject are hijacking the agenda is foolishness.

Rep. Delaney should just say that his variant of right-wing politics is not in favour in the Democratic Party at the moment and he is unhappy about that. He should resolve to work harder at getting his own message out there. But the "hijacking" language sounds like something a spoiled child would say upon not getting his or her own way,

Oh, and good for you Rep. Delaney. You made a lot of money on Wall Street. But the "performance of the most fortunate," as you put it, is what created the financial crisis in the first place. Don't we want to make sure that doesn't happen again, or would that just be scoring points?

Maybe Rep. Delaney would find a better home across the aisle.


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  • You read my mind: spoiled child. This is part of a larger issue that I've thought a lot about. The fact that Delaney feels at home in the Democratic Party is also what forces the Republican Party to the extreme right. For a whole lot of people "liberalism" now means simply economic liberalism. So given that Delaney isn't a bigot, he thinks he's a Democrat. On the other hand, I want him in the Democratic tent. But he's got to stop whining. That belongs in the Republican tent.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 5:43 PM  

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