Reclaiming American Democracy.

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Also on Daily Kos.  Presented here without change, although the venue here needs lesss apologetics.…

Watching Baucus try to sell out the President’s plan and all the roadblocks put in the way of what is essentially a half measure, a tepid reform, reminded me of the reality in American politics many wish to deny.

GreenSooner mentioned that he was “actually surprised that real(ish) reform has gotten as far as it has.”  This is because

Our political system has essentially been reengineered to prevent things like actual health care reform.

(Link to comment)  President Obama and progressive Democrats have really worked hard to push some reform in health care against overwhelming odds.  But this fight has once again exposed the reality of Washington.  It’s broken.

More, after the fold.  

Reading that comment, I agreed:  “Corporations and the wealthy subverted democracy.”  

It also reminded me of a speech in 2007 that was correct.  Many people here believe John Edwards was an immoral hypocrite becuase he had an affair.  Others think he always was a phony because he supported AUMF.  Still others cannot let go of primary wars.  Whatever.  You can hate him or attack him all you want.  I don’t care.  It’s just a distraction.

I never just supported John Edwards the person.  I supported the ideas he articulated and the hope we could create a movement for change.  There is significant overlap betwen the ideas of Barack Obama and those of John Edwards on substantive change.  They differed, at least verbally, on process.

More disclaimer.  Barack Obama may well have a personality and gravitas more well suited to the presidency that Edwards.  Obama clearly was the right choice last year.  And, also clearly, John Edwards has personal flaws.  The risk he took in 2007 with that affair is mind boggling.  He destroyed his political career, jeopardized his marriage, and hurt those he most loved.

So let’s pretend someone else wrote these words.  Just listen to the ideas and forget who said them.  We see the truth today with Baucus and Conrad. Every day in Washington.

It does not have to be this way.  Slink, eve, President Obama, Howard Dean, Lynne Woolsey, Jeff Merkley, and so many others are fighting to pass a reform bill that actually is at least, as GreenSooner said, “realish,” if not real.  And “realish” is good.  Yes, it’s not single payer and it should be.  But if we all fight for “realish” reform, it might help some people.  That matters.  

This is the system we are up against:

It’s not just that the answers of the past aren’t up to the job today, it’s that the system that produced them was corrupt — and still is. It’s controlled by big corporations, the lobbyists they hire to protect their bottom line and the politicians who curry their favor and carry their water. And it’s perpetuated by a media that too often fawns over the establishment, but fails to seriously cover the challenges we face or the solutions being proposed. This is the game of American politics and in this game, the interests of regular Americans don’t stand a chance.

Real change starts with being honest — the system in Washington is rigged and our government is broken. It’s rigged by greedy corporate powers to protect corporate profits. It’s rigged by the very wealthy to ensure they become even wealthier. At the end of the day, it’s rigged by all those who benefit from the established order of things. For them, more of the same means more money and more power. They’ll do anything they can to keep things just the way they are — not for the country, but for themselves.

Politicians who care more about their careers than their constituents go along to get elected. They make easy promises to voters instead of challenging them to take responsibility for our country. And then they compromise even those promises to keep the lobbyists happy and the contributions coming.

Instead of serving the people and the nation, too many play the parlor game of Washington — trading favors and campaign money, influencing votes and compromising legislation. It’s a game that never ends, but every American knows — it’s time to end the game.

And it’s time for the Democratic Party — the party of the people — to end it.

The choice for our party could not be more clear. We cannot replace a group of corporate Republicans with a group of corporate Democrats, just swapping the Washington insiders of one party for the Washington insiders of the other.


It’s time to end the game. It’s time to tell the big corporations and the lobbyists who have been running things for too long that their time is over. It’s time to challenge politicians to put the American people’s interests ahead of their own calculated political interests, to look the lobbyists in the eye and just say no.

And it’s time for the American people to take responsibility for our government — for in our democracy it is truly ours. If we have come to mistrust and question it, it is because we were not vigilant against the forces that have taken it from us. That their game has played on for so long is the fault of each of us — ending the game and returning government of the people to the people is the responsibility of all of us.

But cleaning up Washington isn’t enough. If we are going to meet the challenges we face and prevail over them, two principles must guide us — yes, we must end the Washington game, but we must also think as big as the challenges we face. Our ideas must be bold enough to succeed and our government must be free to enact them without compromising principle or sacrificing results.

One without the other isn’t good enough. All the big ideas in the world won’t make a difference if they have to go through this broken system that remains controlled by big business and their lobbyists. And if we fix the system, but aren’t honest with the American people about the scope of our challenges and what’s required of each of us to meet them, then we’ll be left with the baby steps and incremental measures that are Washington’s poor excuse for progress.


“To Build One America, End the Game”

So pretend it was someone else speaking and think about the truth of the words.  Please. Don’t let his personal failing hurt our cause.

There is nothing in there inconsistent with Barack Obama’s fundamental goals.  He will not take lobbyist money.

Baucus and Conrad are corporate Dems.  But the problem is not just Baucus and Conrad.  It’s the corrupt system in Congress.  

That is our real struggle: to end their subversion of democracy.  That won’t end with this bill and maybe not even in this President’s adminstration.  But if we fight with the President and the honest progressives in Congress, we can reclaim our democracy.


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    • TomP on July 30, 2009 at 17:39

    real change.

    • TomP on July 30, 2009 at 22:25


  1. ‘There is nothing in there inconsistent with Barack Obama’s fundamental goals.’  He will not take lobbyist money?

    here is what he took in. Be it called lobby money or PAC money or Individual money it it all money from the same place the money that has nothing to do with you or me. This money is tainted, this money is not from ‘the people.’ This is not your land this is not my land. This land is made for the corporations and the God of profit. The one that has no connection to the real world. The world we live in. The world Obama refuses to acknowledge as worthy of saving or even considering, the one that most of us must live and try to function in. Here are the numbers count them as you will they add up to our collective misery……

    University of California $1,564,490

    Goldman Sachs $994,795

    Harvard University $854,017

    Microsoft Corp $833,617

    Google Inc $803,436

    Citigroup Inc $699,790

    JPMorgan Chase & Co $695,132

    Time Warner $589,334

    Sidley Austin LLP $588,598

    Stanford University $586,557

    National Amusements Inc $550,683

    UBS AG $543,219

    Wilmerhale Llp $542,618

    Skadden, Arps et al $530,839

    IBM Corp $527,572

    Columbia University $526,802

    Morgan Stanley $514,881

    General Electric $499,130

    Latham & Watkins $493,835

    US Government $491,420

    Percent of Contributions Coded How to read this chart

    legend Coded $283,033,941 (73%)

    legend Uncoded $105,241,790 (27%)

    Total $388,275,731

    God knows what money since the election has passed hands. You think that he is unhooked from the machine that runs all the government? No way. He is the ultimate of hooked in of beholden he is the king of by-partisan screw. The holder of the gates brought to us by the US government. The entity that offers nothing but more of the same and calls it change.  

  2. It’s sort of like going to the movies. You pay without seeing if the product you buy is good or not. If the movie is bad, you can’t get your money back.

    With pols it’s the same. Once they’re elected, the money that’s offered to them is enough to betray the country. They just don’t care. They’ve got theirs, Jack, and tough luck for you. In fact, all high-sounding rhetoric aside, the only reason they really want to be elected is the money.

    There’s a couple who aren’t like that; off the top of my head I would name Kucinich and Feingold… and that’s about it.

    All the rest… sell-outs.

    But please… tell me anything, but don’t tell me that you’re surprised.

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