Well, that sucked.
As the professional prognosticators permeate the airwaves today to analyze what happened, I can save you a lot of time. Progressives, Liberals, Democrats – whatever you want to call people with progressive ideals and values – do not want to vote for phony politicians or Republican-lite candidates. Period. End of statement.
The people of Florida proved that they’ll vote for the slime of the earth who sticks to his beliefs over a political opportunist who goes wherever he thinks he can ascend to higher office. During the 2008 campaign, then-Republican Governor Charlie Crist could always be seen standing just behind John McCain, probably muttering under his breath, “choose me, pick me, choose me, pick me.” Yes, he wanted to be McCain’s running mate, but he was spurned in favor of the ditzy Sarah Palin (opening the door for this year’s break out ditz, Joni Ernst.
The people of Kentucky told Alison Lundergan Grimes that they didn’t want her if she wouldn’t stand behind the president she voted for (or at least admit that she voter for him!)
As much as I criticize the president for his propensity to give away the dinner before the bargaining table is even set, and for squandering so many opportunities for a new New Deal in favor of a Grand Bargain that would cut Social Security benefits to seniors, and on and on, the fact of the matter is that President Obama has accomplished a lot, especially in the face of unprecedented obstructionism.
For congressional Democratic incumbents to run away from him instead of championing all he has been able to accomplish in six years is what cost them so much yesterday. No one wants to vote for a loser, and these candidates all said “we’re losers” by shunning their party’s leader and its platform.
To fix it, the Democratic Party needs to do some serious house cleaning in its leadership. Pelosi, Reid, Steny Hoyer, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Steve Israel, Michael Bennet and everyone lining up behind them all need to go. Replace them with Alan Grayson, Elizabeth Warren (unless we can get her to run for president!), Bernie Sanders (see my comment on Elizabeth Warren), and other progressives who understand what it means to have the courage of their convictions.
I was joined on the show today by Crooks & Liars‘ Susie Madrak, and Harvey Kaye, professor of Democracy & Justice Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and author of The Fight for The Four Freedoms: What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great, who helped me unpack the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
Tomorrow, I’ll be joined by The Nation‘s Katrina vanden Heuvel and She’s History’s Amy Simon… talk to you then, radio or not!