It's Doubly Difficult for Democrats: They Have to Battle the Bush Cartel AND Tom Daschle's Ineptness
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
In four editorials in 2002 and 2003 (this is the fifth), we have expressed our serious concerns that Tom Daschle, George W. Bush's secret weapon, is still Minority "Leader." That is a total misnomer. Tom Daschle is Minority "Enabler."
Since BuzzFlash began, we have been very sparing in our criticism of Democrats, unless they commit egregious betrayals against the chance to defeat Bush and the Republicans. We figure we don't, in general, need to assist the Republicans in their character assassination strategy.
But sometimes, Democrats -- intentionally or inadvertently -- betray democracy, and help the Republicans in such a way that we cannot help but call them to task. Zell Miller, Joe Lieberman, and Tom Daschle have been among the few Democrats we have lambasted.
Of these three sinners, Daschle is the most dangerous. He is blinded by his self-interest, the influence of lobbyists, losing "deals" that he strikes with the White House, his perceived need to often vote in support of Republican bills because he is from an Ultra-red state, his desire not to pressure Democratic senators, his need to feel collegial "love" from his Republican colleagues, his ineptness, his timidity and his overall lack of leadership. In fact, when he leads Democrats, it is most often in the wrong direction.
Forget that he is well-spoken and wears a nice suit. He is, perhaps, the worst Democratic Minority "Leader" in modern history. He hands Bush and the Republicans more victories on a platter than they could ever have hoped for. Daschle is the perennial lout who continually grabs defeat from the jaws of victory. He blew an opportunity to cripple Bush and Cheney with investigations into their dirty business, when he was briefly Majority Leader after the Jeffords' defection. In fact, he pretty much let Bush set the agenda even when Daschle controlled the Senate. Daschle's continued tenure is the most serious danger to any chance of success the Democrats might have in 2004 in all the congressional and senate elections and the presidency. Because he has allowed the Bush administration to define the terms of the debate in Congress, without a strong Democratic counterattack or proactive vision.
In past editorials, we have detailed how Daschle has failed to defeat or filibuster almost every significant bill that has comprised Bush's MAJOR agenda. He squandered his term as majority leader by not having Democrats vigorously pursue 9/11,
Enron, and other corporate scandals -- as well as a whole host of lost opportunities. He gave Bush the Patriot Act, supported him on the war in Iraq, lavishly praised him when he was elected, promised Bush that all his cabinet appointments would be confirmed (and then the White House made a fool of Daschle by making public his promise), didn't contest the election of 2000, and let Cheney off the hook on the energy bill. His narrow-minded "Support the President," incremental "differences" national political strategy lost the senate for the Democrats in 2002. And that's just for starters.
All of these missteps and many more are revealed in the three BuzzFlash editorials below. We highly recommend that you read them:
Tom Daschle Should Resign as Minority Leader of the Senate
There Tom Daschle Goes Again
Tom Daschle, Too Little, Too Late, As Usual
Now, Daschle is prepared to give the administration its two most significant domestic victories without even going down for the fight. Daschle will vote for the Energy Bill -- and voted against a filibuster of the bill last week -- even though it is a corrupt, damaging piece of legislation that grew out of Cheney's infamous energy task force, the very one that Daschle did virtually nothing to expose.
The New York Times calls "dreadful" the Cheney/DeLay energy legislation designed to fatten the profits of the energy companies, allow increased dependence on fossil fuels, and increased pollution. But Tom Daschle is not only voting for it, he opposed the majority members of his own party by working to stop a filibuster.
The NYT says of Daschle in a November 24th editorial:
"While it is probably asking too much, we can also hope that Friday's vote will give courage to the Midwestern Democrats like Tom Daschle, the minority leader, who continue to allow the bill's ethanol subsidies to the corn farmers to distort their judgment. A little gumption on their part would assure this bill the legislative burial it deserves."
If that weren't bad enough -- and what could be worse for the senior leader of the Democrats in the senate -- Daschle is trying to fool us on the Medicare Bill. He says that he will vote against the Medicare Bill, but will oppose a filibuster. That is, essentially, akin to a "structured vote." That is when an elected official votes against a bill, as an example, knowing that his vote isn't needed to pass it. Since the only way the Medicare Bill can be kept from passing now is through a filibuster, Daschle knows that his "having it both ways" position is giving the bill the green light and signaling to other Democrats that they can vote for it. Tom claims that he will try some "technical strategic moves" to try and stall it, but that's just hokum. He won't pressure his caucus to sustain a filibuster, so the bill will pass.
Since Medicare and prescription drug benefits have always been an issue that help the Democrats at the polls, Daschle is pulling the rug out from under a key part of the Democratic electoral advantage and giving Bush a major, major domestic victory. Not to mention that the Medicare Bill itself is one that the Democrats should go to the mat fighting, because it is a Medicare privatization "poison pill" Bill, sugarcoated with some pro-drug company benefits. In typical Republican fashion, it's a horrible bill for seniors that the GOP will market as a great benefit to the elderly. And they will get away with it, because Tom Daschle didn't call their bluff with a filibuster.
We aren't vain enough to believe that BuzzFlash will have any influence on the Democratic Caucus in the Senate. And, besides, many of the Democratic senators are just fine with Daschle because he doesn't demand anything of them.
But the Democrats can't win in 2004 if Daschle continues to ensure that the Dems just ineptly march behind the breaking wind of the Bush Cartel.
The inevitable passage of the ghastly Medicare Bill -- and the likely success of the Energy Bill (for the 1800s) could have just as likely been prevented by a strong, decisive, strategic Minority Leader in the Senate. (And don't credit him for leading the filibusters over a handful of Bush radical judgeships. Remember more than 95% of Bush's appointees have been confirmed. Furthermore, Kennedy, Leahy and Durbin forced Daschle into filibustering the judges. Also remember, it was Daschle who wouldn't filibuster Ashcroft.)
Tom Daschle may have already sealed the fate of the Democrats in 2004. If he had helped derail the Medicare bill, he could have helped set the stage for a ground swell of senior citizens in revolt against the AARP -- and in support of the Democrats at the polls in 2004.
We said it in this editorial: "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." [LINK].
And we say it again: Tom Daschle acts like a "Trojan Horse" Democrat -- whatever his real intentions -- who is helping out Bush more than he is positioning his party to lead a rebirth of democracy, prosperity and national community in 2004. Tom has even poorly positioned himself to challenge Bush on his complete failure to protect our national security before 9/11 and after.
We don't care anymore about Tom's excuses for his ineptness, coziness with lobbyists and chronic failure. We just want him out as Minority Leader.
Let a Kennedy, a Durbin, a Kerry, a Boxer or a Clinton take his place.
We need a fighter, someone that leads by example by battling through to the end zone.
We don't need someone who keeps forfeiting the game.
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL