Wednesday, August 08, 2007

This Guy Is Talking Against Dems Like Bob Clement and Jim Cooper

Paul Waldman has an outstanding article at American Prospect on the fundamental differences between conservatives and progressives on the issues of insurance programs for uninsured kids (SCHIP) and maintenance of our deteriorating infrastructure.

Is Waldman not referring to Dems like Mr. Clement and Mr. Cooper (who just voted against SCHIP)?
There is a whole generation of Democrats -- politicians, congressional staff, political consultants, and party functionaries -- who either started their careers or matured during the Clinton years, when the dominant Democratic strategy was one of triangulation, long before it was given that name. They spent their time worrying not about how to contrast themselves with Republicans, but how to contrast themselves with other Democrats.
Waldman argues that the Democrats are going to squander all the public's readiness to hear how government can actually work (as it does with SCHIP and how it should with adequate infrastructure financing) and find themselves on the defensive if they do not make the case for constructive programs of uplift and repair.

The difference between progressives and conservatives in 2007 could not be more stark:
Progressives believe we're all in it together, while conservatives say we're all on our own and we're all out for ourselves. Progressives think government has to do the things markets can't do -- and when it does them, it ought to do them well. Conservatives are so blinded by their antigovernment ideology that when they get hold of government they turn it into a corroded mess of cronyism, corruption, and incompetence, a dilapidated whorehouse where the plumbing doesn't work, the paint is peeling off the walls, and everything is for sale.
You should read this article just to see how Waldman shows how a junior high debater could "rip apart" Rudi Giuliani's abstract appeals that SCHIP is "socialized medicine."


  1. I have to disagree, I don't think you can put Bob Clement and Jim Cooper in the same category. Clement's support for Bush's tax cuts, the war in Iraq, etc...were all designed to win him votes among the people.

    Jim Cooper's vote against the House version of the SCHIP legislation was an issue of pork. Should he have ignored the pork and focused on the stated purpose of the bill? Perhaps, but I don't think this was an effort to triangulate or win over Conservative simply went back to his over-arching theme as a Congressman which has been to reduce the debt.

  2. I should say, votes among the people in the State, not Nashville. By that time, he had long abandoned his district in favor of puffing up his portfolio to run statewide.

  3. Here's something that fits the whole "not running against Republicans, but running against other Dems" point:

    Davidson Co. Republicans felt no need to run anyone against Jim Cooper the last go-around. Was it because Jim Cooper runs more against progressive issues and other Democrats? And what about Mr. Cooper's DoD votes?

  4. Was it because Jim Cooper runs more against progressive issues and other Democrats?

    Probably has more to do with the fact that a Republican hasn't won that seat since reconstruction, and the district hasn't gotten much redder...also the same reason Republicans (at least as Republicans) don't run for judicial seats.

    And what about Mr. Cooper's DoD votes?

    Thats a fair enough question, to which I don't have a good answer. Other than Defense Appropriations are probably deemed more of a necessity, as they are active programs that need to be funded every year. He was however one of the few (and only in some cases) Democrats to vote in favor of Jeff Flake's amendments to strip some of the earmarks out of the bill. Even the Republican leadership was against most of those amendments.

  5. I believe Jim Cooper is holding true to his principles regarding responsible government.

    Part of the problem lies in the title of bills which is often times mis-leading. Label something as the "Mom and Apple Pie Act of 2007" load it with bridges to no-where and another Robert Byrd Post Office in WV. Vote against it and all the sudden you are anti-family when in fact you are anti-pork.

    Jim does a good job of taking his time to study the issues and makes reasoned, rational votes.

  6. Actually, when I was looking at the last night of business on Congress's agenda, the Post Office naming legislation that I saw (and there was a lot) were voted on as individual bills.

    Minimizing the attempt to provide millions of working class children with health insurance by comparing it to superficial labels is both cold and out of step with what 70-80% of Americans are demanding right now. Why should Jim Cooper take it upon himself to deny at-risk children access to health care in the name of his own personal agenda and talking points?

    Jim Cooper is standing by a principle that is as abstract to average citizens as Republicans' labels of "socialized medicine." There are more effective tactics to use to get government to be more responsible than by voting against health coverage and (as a consequence) health care for innocent children who should not have to suffer for the sake of abstract principles.

  7. Jim Cooper isn't against health care for kids. Voting against the bill in question meant he couldn't support health care for children with the costs and conditions attached to this particular bill.

    In his position, would you vote for a bill to provide health care to children if it rolled back Roe v Wade? if it funded the Iraq War in perpetuity? if it eliminated the minimum wage? I dont think so. I do think Jim wont vote for bills that will bankrupt the system just to avoid being labeled as "against health care for children" and the experience at the state level with TennCare makes me think he is right.

    Get a better bill that he can vote for.

  8. Simply ridiculous. What part of the SCHIP bill remotely approached rolling back RvW or funding the Iraq War (both of which would be as hugely unpopular as SCHIP is popular)? Exactly which part "bankrupted the system"? This is sheer hyperbole. You are trying to create dragons where there were none. Earmarks? Yes. But those earmarks can be worked out in the Senate-House compromise, which leaves us with the question: why sacrifice children's health for the sake of his own pet issue? This is the time for Dems to set themselves apart from conservatives.