Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Some Bright Signs

Those of us who live here inside the Beltway occasionally realize that the so-called experts who devote immense amounts of column inches, especially in the Washington Post, to gauging the latest political breeze or whisper, are influenced by those who shout the loudest. So for what seems like years now, we've been hearing about the asserted power of the tea-baggers and other species whose significance is built up by such as Fox.

But all the sincere protests at state capitals from Madison to Columbus that followed the GOP attack on collective bargaining rights has made some of the pundits sit up and listen. Some even suspect that the next elections may turn out differently in those states and many others. I even feel I'm getting an answer to my question--Where were those folks last election day? The answer is that they didn't realize the true evil that corporate America, as represented by the corporate American party, the Republicans, had planned to wreak on the working people of this country.

First, their tax cuts for the rich have created more inequality in the U.S. than we had known for generations. Second, they have set out to wreck the last institution that stands up for working people: the unions. Seeing all these normal, fired-up people willing to stand up for their rights in state capitol buildings wasn't enough to dissuade the GOP from its planned course. Only a huge landslide against the party of the rich and the greedy next time will accomplish that goal.

I hope the Democrats now will show some bravery hitherto hidden and stand up for their constituents. Maybe they will stop trying to show that they are kind-hearted Republicans, only willing to cut less than the GOP. We know that the Dems are also bought--by Wall Street and other major contributors. Can they stand up to their cashflow? Democrats always had to run against the GOP-dominated press in the old days. Now they have to run against Fox and the Murdoch media machine.

They have to start by being clear about what's needed. No more tax cuts for billionaires--or even millionaires. No compromise on Social Security or health care or education or environmental regulation. The media and the GOP would have us forget about the crooked coal companies that fought the outnumbered mine inspectors for years and then bought a judicial election in West Virginia so blatantly that the Supreme Court, if only by 5-4, said it was too loathsome to allow the result to stand.

The Democrats mainly have to remember that they represent working people, yes, of all kinds and colors, but the similarities matter more than the differences. Enough of multicultural posturing that just divides our constituencies. Let's focus on what brings us together. Let's take care of the real majority--plain, hard-working citizens, employees, people who work for a paycheck not a dividend coupon.

Tax the runaway corporations where it hurts--when they want to sell their products in the U.S. If they want to run away, let them pay a large penalty to get their goods back in here. Tax the greedy rich -- especially the Wall Street types who got away scot-free with their thievery. Tax outfits like Wal-Mart who think that not enough people care about the rights of workers--women and men alike--to stand up against their sleazy discrimination and payoffs in poor communities to get their stores opened. Clinton showed that a fair tax structure will balance the budget and write down the debt. As Carville put it and we have failed to follow, it's always the economy, stupid.

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