Thursday, August 04, 2005

Party Discipline

Party discipline is an easier call for the Republicans than for the Democrats. The Republicans have a simpler set of goals and historically, being the party of big business, have more reason to cohere and form a common front. Democrats on the other hand have a tradition of bickering endlessly over details and come "together" only at the last moments of conventions and when party largesse is being handed out. Without a doubt, the principle of party discipline has got to change for Democrats or they will forever be the minority party!

Last week the House passed the Central American Free Trade Agreement, CAFTA, which on the surface appears to be an extension of NAFTA (The North American Free Trade Agreement) between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. CAFTA is not just an extension of NAFTA, though. It is in addition a mammoth handout to big business and even many Republicans were repelled by the sleeze and graft and corruption that was incorporated into this agreement. Most of the Republicans were brought into line by their party leadership and when all was said and done, the act passed by two votes. Of the total, fifteen were Democrat's votes!

If the Democrats who voted for CAFTA had been voting as their leadership asked on other issues, that is, if they had been good Democrats and, if they had understood that leadership sometimes has its own supervening reasons for doing things, if just these two conditions had existed, then perhaps the backsliding Democrats could be forgiven. But that is not the case. These Democrats (names to follow) were given courteous explanations of the leadership's reasons for opposing CAFTA and they ignored these reasons. Moreover, a majority of the 15 traitors—yes, they are traitors—had violated party discipline in other crucial votes, as well!

There are several things that can be done. First, and probably most obvious, is that these traitors must be brought to account for their votes. Bringing them to account will be accomplished by suspending their rights and privileges within the party, especially for choices of offices, choices of committees upon which to sit, and a thorough shunning in all matters of party strategy. These people are no longer worthy of trust.

Second, they should not receive any DNC funding for their future campaigns. Labor unions should ignore their pleas for campaign funds, and the citizens of their Congressional districts should ignore them as well.

Third, they should be summoned, individually, before the Congressional leadership and asked to explain why they think they are Democrats and why the Party should continue to respect that choice. If they say they have a right to vote any way they please, they should be summarily ejected from the party.

A purge of the untrustworthy in the party is strong medicine, indeed, but it is necessary. The opposition does not allow its members to vote any damned way they please, and they will not let these traitors vote Democratic some days and Republican the next. If they declare themselves "independent" then they will lose all the benefits that accrue to being in a system run by parties.

A purge of the party now, in 2005, is necessary because the bi-election of 2006 is far enough away that the Democratic leadership can find candidates to run against these traitors in the primaries, if these traitors prove to be reluctant to accept party discipline. There is enough time to mount an information campaign in the home districts of these traitors.

In the case of the three Hispanic Texas Representatives, the idea that they were voting for the welfare of relatives of constituents in Central America and the Dominican Republic is utter hogwash. CAFTA will send jobs currently held by citizens and residents of the U.S. (including Texas) to these places, because it is temporarily to the benefit of corporations to do this and, moreover, the temporary gain on one end is a permanent loss on the other. Americans losing jobs is precisely why the Democratic leadership asked for discipline on this vote. The traitors ignored them.

Here are the names of the traitors. Those with asterisks (*) after their names are "frequent fliers" who also defied party discipline on the bankruptcy bill, and those with pound-signs (#) were also traitors on so-called "tort reform" that limited citizens' legal rights:

  • Melissa Bean (IL) *#
  • Jim Cooper (TN) *#
  • Henry Cuellar (TX) *#
  • Norm Dicks (WA)
  • Ruben Hinojosa (TX) *#
  • William Jefferson (LA) *
  • Jim Matheson (UT) *#
  • Greg Meeks (NY) *#
  • Dennis Moore (KS) *#
  • Jim Moran (VA) *#
  • Solomon Ortiz (TX) *
  • Ike Skelton (MO) *
  • Vic Snyder (AR)
  • John Tanner (TN) *#
  • Ed Towns (NY)

These Representatives are a disgrace to the Democratic Party. Their willful disregard of the wisdom of Party leadership will cost Americans billions of dollars, thousands of jobs, untold misery in poverty, and needless damage in the fight against corporate greed and immorality.

My advice to the Democratic leadership is to give them one opportunity to beg for forgiveness and if this is not quickly forthcoming, dump these traitors into the ashcan of history!

James Richard Brett

Interesting references:
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