Thursday, December 2, 2010

Use the Republicans’ Strategy of “No” Against Them

Let me get this right: Senate Republicans have pledged to filibuster everything in the Senate until the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans are extended (at the cost of $700,000,000). So no extension of unemployment benefits for 2 million unemployed Americans, no vote on the nuclear disarmament treaty (START), no vote on the DREAM Act, no vote on the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and most importantly, no extension of tax cuts for the 98% of Americans who aren’t in that top 2%. Did I get that right?

Yes the Republicans won big in November. But we need to remember that they did not win in the Senate (thank you Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle!). More importantly, do we really think that the message that the American electorate sent in November was to stop all other business until a tax break is given to the rich? Was that what voters said? Somehow, I don’t think so. And I think polls agree with me.

So I’d suggest that Senate Democrats show a little spine and go on the offensive. Start bringing votes to the floor on issues that are important to Democrats and to Americans in general (other than that 2%…) and make the Republicans filibuster. And when I say make them filibuster, I mean make them stand in the well of the Senate chambers and read the phonebook or Glenn Beck or the Complete Works of Shakespeare. And make them keep reading 24/7. And start using some campaign funding to run ads showing Republicans filibustering extensions of unemployment insurance, filibustering nuclear safety (that Republican former Secretaries of State favor), and most importantly, filibustering tax cuts for the middle class.

Here’s the ad I’d like to see running in states across the country: “Our Senator, _____ [fill in the name of the applicable Republican Senator], had a chance to vote for nuclear safety.” [Clip of Senator saying “No”.] “He had a chance to vote to extend unemployment benefits for more than 2 million unemployed Americans.” [Clip of Senator saying “No”.] “And he had a chance to vote for an extension of tax cuts for those earning less than $250,000”. [Clip of Senator saying “No”.] “Our Senator won’t even allow votes on those issues until he gets a vote to extend tax cuts for the richest 2% of Americans at a cost of $700,000,000. Tell our Senator that he is supposed to represent all Americans, not just his wealthy contributors.”

Democrats in the Senate need to use this as an opportunity to demonstrate to the American people that Senate Republicans don’t care about the American people at all; they care only about wealthy contributors and their (here’s my new buzzword phrase) corporate overlords.

And it wouldn’t hurt for President Obama to use the power of his office to call the Republicans out on their strategy of “no” — forcefully.

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