November 20, 2003
If Tom Daschle Doesn't Crack the Whip and Get His Caucus to Filibuster the "Trojan Horse/Poison Pill" GOP Medicare Bill, the Democrats Will Probably Face a Massive Defeat in 2004. Here is Why.
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
The other day, William Novelli defiantly taunted Tom Daschle by declaring that there would be no revolt against Novelli's use of the AARP to support the Republican/Gingrich plan to dismantle Medicare.
Well, many, many of the members of the AARP don't agree with "GOP" Novelli. Judging by the AARP message board, the vast majority of AARP members are in open revolt against Novelli's Benedict Arnold routine. (He may have been a Republican mole all along, judging by his drooling admiration of Newt Gingrich). They know a Republican skunk when they see one. American seniors, with few exceptions, don't want to see Medicare dismantled and the drug and insurance companies enriched at their expense.
That is why BuzzFlash has received e-mails like the following one:
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The Democrats have a chance to lead a grassroots senior revolt against a Newt Gingrich-inspired Medicare bill that shafts seniors in the long run -- and increases the profits of the insurance companies and drug companies in the short- and long-term.
The defeat of the GOP "Let's Deceive and Shaft the Seniors" Medicare Bill, through a Senate filibuster if necessary, would be a defining moment for the Democrats.
In fact, if Tom Daschle can't pull 41 votes together to filibuster this bill, the Democrats will be severely wounded coming into the 2004 election. The Republicans will get credit for passing a Medicare bill that they will cynically tout as the salvation for senior healthcare (when it is more like luring a kid into a car with candy and then abusing him.) The Democrats will not be able to discredit the Republicans, because they let the bill get out of Congress. It will give Bush and the Republicans a commanding domestic issue to claim victory on, even while they are putting a knife in the back of America's elderly.
In this scenario, the Democrats will lose their one major chance to become the champions of the grassroots, middle class and poor seniors. They will be boxed in on senior issues in 2004 and almost assuredly fail to regain either the house or the senate, as a result. Such a scenario will also have significant fallout on the presidential campaign, perhaps ensuring a Bush election next November.
The stakes are that serious.
The battle over the Republican "Trojan Horse" Medicare bill is THE defining moment for the Democrats as far as domestic issues in the coming election.
If Daschle can't rally his caucus to filibuster the poison pill Medicare bill, the Democrats will likely remain a minority party in Congress for the foreseeable future.
The Republicans have a war room in Congress with 400 organizations and their insurance and drug company lobbyists working feverishly to pass the Medicare bill. The GOP is using the board and CEO of the AARP to provide cover and a $7 million media campaign to further their anti-Medicare goals, under the guise of the "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval" of the AARP (as Dennis Hastert called it).
Meanwhile, there are signs of life among the Democratic Congressional leadership:
"House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that Democratic opposition to a Republican-backed Medicare prescription drug bill is 'a party position,' signaling an aggressive effort to unite the rank-and-file, scuttle the bill and claim credit with voters. (SEE: SF Gate)
That's music to BuzzFlash's ears. But it is unlikely Pelosi can defeat the bill in the House.
As a result, it is time for Tom Daschle to step up to the plate and do whatever is necessary to keep the Democratic Senate caucus committed to a party line vote on a filibuster. If Daschle fails to hold the filibuster on this destructive and radical Medicare Bill (a wolf in sheep's clothing), he may not only lose his own senate race in South Dakota, he may ensure that the Democrats will go down in flames next year.
If Daschle holds the line, it will probably be the beginning of a grass roots firestorm rising up against the GOP. William Novelli and the AARP board are a Potemkin Village as far as representing seniors. Novelli, a former public relations executive, is just another GOP propaganda tool.
But it is the seniors of America who represent millions of votes. Novelli only has one.
The GOP has given Daschle and the Democrats a strategic opportunity to defeat a disastrous Medicare bill and start a prairie fire of seniors revolting against the GOP, the profiteering insurance companies and the predatory drug companies. It would be a dramatic and effective political wounding of the deceptive Republicans and the radical right.
Don't blow it Daschle. It's not a time to be cautious Tom and throw up your hands in surrender. If cautious Tom, looking at some silly polls in South Dakota, doesn't crack the whip with his caucus to stand up for the seniors of America, the Democrats will, once again, just be left inhaling the fumes from a Republican fart.
Tom, you showed some guts in defeating the recent Republican efforts to force some extremist Bush appointees on the federal bench. Now, it's a time to REALLY show some leadership and the power to win through a strategic routing of the Republicans and the White House.
The results of the election in 2004 may very well, indeed probably will, hang in the balance.
Break through the AARP/GOP D.C. leadership and go directly to the seniors of America. Tell the truth about this "Trojan Horse/Poison Pill" Medicare bill and the seniors will join the MoveOn.org Internet warriors, minorities, pro-choice women and the abused working class in carrying the Democrats to victory in 2004.
But if Tom Daschle turns his back on this strategic opening provided by the Republicans -- due to timidity and watching his red state backside in South Dakota -- the Democrats may become an extinct species for the forseeable future.
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
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Afternote: This BuzzFlash reader sees the political opportunity here for the Democrats, Does Tom Daschle?
otherwise noted, all original