Continued Beatings, Morale, and Voting FOR Something

I found a piece yesterday on the Daily Kos "recommended" community diaries list mildly amusing.  Titled "Will Morale Improve With Continued Beatings?" the piece is basically an attempt to claim victimhood when progressives who are supportive of President Obama hit back at those on the ideological left hard pressed to give the President and the Democratic Congress any credit.  I find that claim to victimhood oddly funny, if not sadly disturbing.  The claimant of the victimhood has been one of the most whithering critics of the President and Democrats ostensibly from the left -- one might even say she has been beating up on them.  Hell, some of it is included in that very piece.  Apparently, continued beatings of Obama and his supporters do improve morale, but the supporters beating the attacks back are horrible for morale.

The piece also raises a point about people being able to vote for the Democrats and not just against the Republicans.  That is a fair point, and I will address it in a bit.  But first, back to the "beatings and morale" theme.

As far as I'm concerned, if there is a problem with morale on the progressive left, it has been caused by the very people who are now whining about "hippie punching" and "beatings."  Constantly beating up on the President, constantly dumping on Democratic accomplishments, constantly screaming at the top of their lungs that everything being done is a betrayal, a sellout or a capitulation, and ruthlessly assailing anyone who dared to stand up and defend this President and this Democratic Congress, it is those very ones now complaining about "beatings" that have constantly been performing the beatings.

I will tell you what lowers morale, and it's not the those of us who have of late fought back against the tide of relentless unfair attacks on President Obama and the Democratic Congress.  What lowers morale is when the supposed representatives of the Left pontificate about boycotting Fox News and then turn around and go on Fox News themselves to try to kill historic health reform.  What lowers morale is when the most significant re-regulation of Wall Street passes and is signed into law amid loud, vicious complaints from the Left that it wasn't good enough.  What lowers morale is the continuous drumbeat from supposed health care advocates to bring only bad news on health care and blame it on health reform, without bringing to light its positive impacts.  What lowers morale is the perpetuation of the idea that since a public option wasn't included in health reform, it is no reform at all.

That's what lowers morale.  This constant mentality that anything less than perfect is not progress.  This pervading idea that any legislative compromise is tantamount to sellout.  This incredulous propagation of the myth that if everything that has been going wrong for a decade - or three - isn't all fixed immediately, this Presidency has been a failure.   What lowers morale is people claiming the progressive mantle and occupying the microphones refusing to admit and welcome progress.  You cannot complain about it when someone stands up to you and fights back for your countless beatings on this administration.  If you are going to dish it out, guess what, someone sometime is going to dish it back out to you.

Now, let's get to this idea that Democrats are not giving voters to vote for anything, except to say, essentially, "we suck less."  That we are simply saying that Republicans are horrible and we are the better of the two bad choices.  That is preposterous.  People have plenty of reasons to vote for the Democrats and not just against the Republicans this November.  Let me list just a few things Obama and Democrats have already delivered on:

  • Health care reform - passed entirely by Democratic votes - is already helping people and saving lives.  If we want to continue to implement the reforms we passed, and further reforms, a Democratic Congress is essential.  Thanks to Democrats, insurance companies can no longer discriminate against children based on pre-existing conditions, drop people when they get sick, or impose lifetime benefit caps.
  • We passed the most significant financial reform since the 1930s.  We created a consumer protection bureau without any additional cost to taxpayers.
  • We reformed the credit card industry.  Now, your credit card company must give you a 30-day notice of rate hikes, and you have the right to close the account and pay off your balance at the previous, lower interest rate.  
  • Yes, we saved the economy from falling into another great depression.  People are still hurting, and badly so, but the actions of this administration and this president prevented a calamitous fall and we are starting to climb our way back up.
  • Democrats have protected and strengthened equal pay for women, expanded Medicaid and SCHIP.
  • This administration almost single-handedly saved the American auto industry, and nearly a million jobs in that industry.
  • We passed the largest economic stimulus package in history, and while it may not have been big enough, it has already saved or created nearly 3.5 million jobs, shaved near 2 percentage points off the unemployment rate, and raised the GDP by 4.5%.
  • For the first time in history, Democrats enacted legislation covering LGBT Americans under federal hate crimes statutes, and the Obama Administration issued regulations ensuring hospitals that accept Medicare or Medicaid treat same sex couples with the same dignity of married heterosexual couples.
  • Sent help to our community banks and small businesses to spur innovation and job creation.
I don't think that these achievements, by any means, delivers the message that "we suck less."  These are objective measures progressives can and should be proud to go out there and sell to voters.  But of course, as is constantly pointed out, we have not reached the promise land, so to speak.  That's why it is even more important that we vote for Democrats.  We have already accomplished this in the face of unprecedented challenges and unparalleled hostilities.  We have more to do.  We have still to invest even more in our economy.  We have still to hold Wall Street more accountable and ensure that the ultra rich pay their fair share to put our country back on track.  We have yet to fully repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, and the Defense of Marriage Act.  We have still to further reform our health care.  That's reason to vote Democratic.

In the end, though, every election is a choice.  To present it as otherwise is nothing more than a political tactic, and a dishonest one at that.  Democrats and progressives must make that choice stark for voters.  Republicans would take us back to the days of the worst insurance company abuses by repealing health care reform, or defunding it.  They would lead our middle class to the slaughter at the hands of Wall Street tycoons by depriving the federal government of resources to enforce the consumer safety laws on those tycoons.  They will end assistance for the poor, the unemployed and for children at the worst possible time.   So yes, it's a choice.  But it's not a choice between the party of suck and the party of suck-less.  It is a choice between a progressive future and a regressive past.  Let us choose wisely.