Friday, November 6, 2009

The Question of Being Party to the Party

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) sends regular fundraising appeals to at least two of my e-mail accounts, and generally, I am fine with that. As a Democrat, I want Democrats to keep and enlarge their majority in the Senate.

But here's the deal, DSCC, and the following applies to all manifestations of the Democratic party: you are very much on trial right now. Now is the time to stand up and behave as a political party.

I refer, of course, to Joe Lieberman, the former Democrat who now threatens to join a Republican filibuster of the majority's already distressingly watered-down health care bill. Though not a Democrat, Lieberman caucuses with the Democrats, and inasmuch as this means a damn thing, it needs to mean he does not filibuster bills the vast majority of the party's elected officials and constituents support.

Senators who block Democratic legislation should be stripped of all rights and privileges they currently enjoy as members of the party caucus, from committee chairmanships right down to parking spaces at the capitol, and everything between. Everything the party caucus has the power to remove, it should remove under that circumstance.

If Lieberman -- or anyone else in the party caucus -- joins a filibuster of any bill the Democratic majority is attempting to pass, and if Lieberman is not immediately dropped from the caucus as a consequence, then I will never give another dime to the Democratic party. Never. Not a single dime, and not a second's worth of volunteer effort, not if I live to be 150. I will not lift a finger for the Senate; not for the House of Representatives; not for the Presidency; not at the state level; not at the local level. Never. Zero. I will still contribute time and money to individual candidates who demonstrably embrace a policy agenda I can support, but this will pointedly exclude those who have enabled the Joe Liebermans of the world.

A political party lacking this basic level of party discipline is not a political party at all. It is instead a dead and pointless abstraction, one for which life is too short and resources too finite.

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