Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Dem Sellouts: Start Looking For Another Job

By David Sirota

We now know who the 15 Democrats are that each undermined their party and America's middle class by casting the deciding vote for the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). The bill passed by one vote, meaning each of the 15 Democrats cast the deciding vote.

When 27 Republicans vote against their own party leadership as they did on CAFTA, Democrats have only these 15 sellouts within their ranks - and groups like the DLC that pushed CAFTA - to blame for the fact that the Democratic Party has been relegated to permanent minority status. The 15 Democratic sellouts were:

Melissa Bean (IL)Jim Cooper (TN)Henry Cuellar (TX)Norm Dicks (WA)Ruben Hinojosa (TX)William Jefferson (LA)Jim Matheson (UT)Greg Meeks (NY)Dennis Moore (KS)Jim Moran (VA)Solomon Ortiz (TX)Ike Skelton (MO)Vic Snyder (AR)John Tanner (TN)Ed Towns (NY)

Let's be clear - all of these people should never get a red cent from labor unions or the progressive community again, and that goes even for the ones who represent marginal districts. The idea that this was a "tough vote" for a Democrat who represents a swing district doesn't hold water - no one is getting voted out of office over voting against CAFTA, and voting for American workers. Remember, polls show that Americans are sick and tired of Congress passing these corporate-written "free" trade deals that sell out ordinary workers.

But, let's further break this down. Which of these 15 Members has CONSISTENTLY been selling out the Democratic Party and America's middle class? The way we find that out is by looking at other recent votes on key economic issues, such as the Bankruptcy Bill, and the bill to limit citizens' legal rights and protect corporations that abuse Americans.

Starting with bankruptcy, we get the list whittled down to 12: Bean, Cooper, Cuellar, Hinojosa, Jefferson, Matheson, Meeks, Moore, Moran, Ortiz, Skelton and Tanner.

Moving to the bill that limits citizens' legal rights and protects corporations that abuse ordinary Americans, the list gets whittled down to 9: Bean, Cooper, Cuellar, Hinojosa, Matheson, Meeks, Moore, Moran and Tanner.

These are the 9 Democrats who are the difference between House Democrats being in the majority and the minority - they are the people who undermine the vast majority of honest/courageous Democrats who fight for ordinary people in Congress everyday. They are the ones who make it consistenly impossible for Democrats to deliver a message that they are the party that stands up for ordinary working people in this country. The fact is, if Democrats are going to be in the minority for the forseeable future, it would be better if these folks were defeated, because they do more harm than good to a party that desperately needs unity to let America knows what it stands for.

Again, while I have described why it is ridiculous to give a pass to any of these 9 because they represent marginal districts, even if you sort out for that the number barely changes. Winning with 55% or more of the vote is considered crushing an opponent - and only Melissa Bean falls under that threshold. The 8 others win by 55% or better, meaning they don't even have the pathetic/dishonest "I'm a marginal Member so I have to sell out American workers" excuse: Cooper (69%) , Cuellar (59%), Hinojosa (58%), Matheson (55%), Meeks (100% - unopposed), Moore (55%), Moran (60%), and Tanner (74%).

In an earlier post today, I mentioned that Rep. Greg Meeks (D-NY) ought to be frightened of the Working Families Party and the progressive community in New York City. But he's not the only one on this list that better be nervous about their job as an insulated career politician. Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), for instance, has been dogged by controversy throughout his career, including actually personally profiting from his previous sellouts to the credit card industry. Maybe this will be the vote that draws him the strong primary challenger needed to defeat him in his solidly progressive district.

To sum up - each of these 15 Democrats ought to pay a price at the polls for their brazen sell out tonight on CAFTA. They undermined their party and America's workers. And the 9 Democrats of these 15 that have been consistently stabbing the Democratic Party in the back - well, they have shown an unfathomable willingness to disregard anything other than corporate campaign cash. They are the reason why Americans are so cynical about the political process, why Democrats can't win key states like Ohio, and, in general, why Democrats are currently in permanent minority status.


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