Thursday, October 04, 2007

Bowing to the Empire - a rant born of frustration

Goin' Anakin. It's a term I use when I feel the need to bolt from this world of Democratic non-action. Those of us that have lived this year-long drama and waited and waited and waited for some sort of offense to show itself probably feel the exact same frustration I do right about now.

I really can't stand these guys. No, seriously, I have tried to justify them time and time again, for months now, looking for any sign of hope that they will fight for this state. It never came, or if it did, it mostly failed to register for any length of time. The Governor was the only one out there walking the walk as the Democrats "dithered", according to one well-known columnist. He was right, and I'm glad he called them out on it.

Recently, I have found myself thinking about what conditions would have to exist before I could ever support the Republican Party. Yes, that's true. They are far too numerous to even consider it remotely a possibility at this point, but just the fact that I had that thought scares the hell out of me.

All year long we have known what was coming, what needed to be done in the face of huge budget deficit that would have produced horrific cuts to the things that provide any semblance of quality of life in this state. Mike Bishop even spelled it out for us, and everyone recoiled in horror and said, "oh NO! We can't do that!"

The Democrats were handed a huge gift, a massive bundle of cuts that would have been a tool for telling the people the truth about Republican priorities, the truth about what the consequences would be without a tax increase to fill this DEFICIT (another key word that never seemed to come up), but instead they meekly mouthed the words they needed to say just a few times and went back to standing in silence and fear.

In the end, not even the Republicans would vote for the alternative to what just happened here. No one seems to remember that we were looking at closing three or four prisons, cuts to the state police patrols, reneging on the promise to pay back the universities the money we stiffed them on last time around, which would have caused further tuition increases, throwing thousands of people off of health care, which would have caused insurance rates to rise, massive cuts to programs that serve the poor at a time when poverty is growing, cuts to veterans programs, cuts to anyone that couldn't possibly fight back, and reducing the number of state employees by 6,700, when Michigan already ranks 46th in the nation as to the number of employees per 10,000 in population. And I'm sure I'm forgetting other nasty things at the moment.

Devastating cuts. Devastating. Who wants to live in the conditions they would have created, conditions that would have cost you more money in the long run anyway? Fiscal conservatives, they like to claim. Passing the buck to you through the back door anyway is what they are doing, and we all know it.

But yet, I get the impression that it would have been OK with (some) Michigan Democrats, if they could be left alone to cower in fear from the tag of "tax and spend". They run from the extreme right; they never, ever stand up to the bullies. They have let the Norquist Republicans control this conversation from day one. They left Granholm hanging out to dry back in the spring when she tried to explain to the people just what was going on here. Not a peep of back-up, ever, when they knew damn well what we were facing and what it would take to fix it.

They sat back and did nothing, thinking that they were protecting their worthless House majority. Sure, they have passed a lot of legislation and promptly patted themselves on the back for it, but, just as Washington, that legislation goes nowhere. And they never say a word about that, either. They are content to rack up the talking points of what they have supposedly accomplished, even though nothing ever changes out here in the real world, and the public that knows it and lives it everyday grows increasingly disappointed.

As expected, the Republicans are coming out swinging. They are running radio ads trying to whip up support for the recalls (although they deny that is what they are for, of course), attacking Granholm first, attacking the Democrats next, and the rhetoric coming from the MRP is "it wouldn't serve us to be obstructionist" and they just had to go along with this, victims of a ruthless Governor that they once claimed didn't have anything to do with the process because she was so "detached", and her Democrats, which they once claimed wouldn't even support her.

In other words- they had a plan. They knew what was coming, they switched gears on all their previous claims (surprised?), they had their excuses for their behavior all lined up, and they are launching a full-fledged attack on Granholm (been listening to Bishop?) and the Democrats now, while the iron is hot, trying to get that fire to grow.

And what do we get from the MDP? Pathetic whimpers of "this was bipartisan, don't hurt us". Nothing on their homepage except a link to the Governor's press conference. No statements of the victory of protecting "Michigan values", except for a generic pitch for money that landed in the inbox of party supporters. The rabble out here is being roused, and they never hear the alternative of what may have happened instead from the media, because there is no one out there feeding the media anything to report.

Why is that? No planning. No strategy. No counter punch. None. Ever.

Where is the ad pointing out the Republican plan for us? Where is the ad pointing out the blatant contradictions the Republicans are making? Where is the ad that points out that Democrats did stand up for public safety, education, health care, and whatever?

Why are they so afraid of that?

I may live on internet time and expect things to come quickly, but you know what? The rest of the world is catching up to me, and a well placed counter-attack starting RIGHT NOW would go a long way to upsetting the talking points that are being placed in the minds of the people of Michigan by the Republicans and the media that lives on the drama.

There is still time to rectify this. They could still launch that counter, and they might just do that yet. I don't know, we will see. Everytime I think the Democrats might have some sort of strategy, I find myself sorely disappointed, so I'm not holding my breath here on that. And once again, it they wait too long, they only look like they are protecting themselves, and not promoting their cause, which I thought was, well, us. Silly fool that I am.

What I would give for a party that would stand up and fight for a change, that would walk the walk instead of standing silent while they get attacked. Given the number of people that I have recently heard say, "Gee, I wish there was a third party out there I could support", I would hazard a guess that I am not alone on that.

(This is a rant. This is only a rant. Had this been the product of a rational and calm mind, you would have been instructed to sit back and wait to see what happens next, and hope this all blows over. But if it doesn't blow over, and something bad happens, I'm starting the Valde Garcia for President in '12 drive right after the election next year.)