How Democrats are blowing it

From Sally Kohn, in a post for

My friend John Fugelsang likes to say that the Democratic Party is like an S&M submissive who forgot his safety word. After the lame performance of Democrats in the immigration reform markup, I would say Fugelsang is being generous. Republicans are incredibly skilled at holding no actual power but nonetheless making wildly effective threats. Democrats on the other hand display the unique and vexing ability to have every political advantage and still cave on their own goals, more often than not preemptively.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I would not be surprised if the modern Democratic Party’s strategy is secretly being bankrolled by Eli Lilly as a ploy to sell Prozac to liberals.

That’s pretty much the takeaway, full of enough colorful analogy to keep us all fat and happy, but if you require more substance, well, read on:

In the latest example of this disconcerting trend, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) proposed an amendment to the Senate immigration markup that would arguably harm American workers. In fact, it wasn’t just Democrats and labor unions that opposed this amendment; Republican Sen. Charles Grassley also opposed the amendment. But Democrats nonetheless backed the change in order to woo Hatch’s committee vote. Meanwhile, not only was Hatch’s committee vote not needed to approve the bill but Hatch has explicitly said he may still not vote for the legislation unless other changes are made. In other words, Hatch got to water down the legislation and Democrats got, er, well… nothing.

By comparison, the chair of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) proposed an amendment that would let lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans sponsor their same-sex spouses for purposes of immigration visas. Republicans threatened to pull their support for the entire legislation if this amendment stood. And so Democrats on the committee and, reportedly, in the White House, publicly and privately pressured Leahy to withdraw his amendment.

“I don’t want to be the senator who asks people to choose between the love of their life and the love of their country,” said Leahy, articulating the sort of principles for which Democrats recently purported to stand firm.

“I don’t want to blow this bill apart,” said Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.). “This is the wrong moment, that this is the wrong bill,” said Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.).  Feinsten, Durbin and others articulated the cowering spinelessness that Democrats now seem to embody.

In case you didn’t know, there are ten Democrats and eight Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee. And, by the way, Democrats hold the majority in the Senate. However, Democrats preemptively watered down their own legislation in the face of Republican threats and a fear that an immigration reform bill that actually reflects ideals of equality and inclusion might not be popular enough with the Republican-dominated House.

Sad but true.


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