View Full Version : Have we reached a new low? Look at what this New York Democrat is doing...

Art Read
08-24-2009, 06:09 AM
Go ahead... let's hear someone support THIS on 'elections have consequences' grounds.


__________________________________________________ __

Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) addressed an intimate group of Netroots activists during their annual Netroots Nation gathering in Pittsburgh this weekend. Mr. Massa reiterated his support for a single-payer health care bill. He discussed the risks he takes for wanting to support such a measure in his "right-wing Republican district."

According to Swing State Project, Mr. Massa won his 2008 race by 2 percentage points. The district's voting pattern index (PVI) is a Republican +5 seat. The National Republican Congressional Committee has the upstate New York congressman in their sights for 2010 along with 69 other House Democrats as reported by Politico. The transcript is below, and check out the corresponding video above.

MASSA: I’m not going to vote for 3200 as it’s currently written. Step one, I will vote for a single payer option or a bill that does have a medicare coupled public option, which we don’t have right now. If my town hall meetings turn into the same media frenzies and ridiculousness, because every time that happens we lose. We lose another three million people in America. They see that happening and negate us.

PARTICIPANT: It changes the narrative.

MASSA: Every time that occurs. So what happens in my town hall meetings frankly is important, because I am in one of the most right wing Republican districts in the country, and I’m not asking you guys to go back to wherever and send people to me. This is a generic statement of 'what can I do?' Well that’s one thing we can do.

PARTICIPANT: So if we got your meetings to sixty forty, you’d vote…and there was single payer in a bill you would vote for it?

MASSA: Oh absolutely I would vote for single payer.

PARTICIPANT: If there was sixty forty sentiment in the room?

MASSA: Listen, I tell every audience I’m in favor of single payer.

PARTICIPANT: If there was eighty twenty in the room?

MASSA: If there was a single payer bill?

PARTICIPANT: And there was a single payer….

MASSA: I will vote for the single payer bill.

PARTICIPANT: Even if it meant you were being voted out of office?

MASSA: I will vote adamantly against the interests of my district if I actually think what I am doing is going to be helpful.

(inaudible participants' comments regarding the "interests" of the district statement from Mr. Massa)

MASSA: I will vote against their opinion if I actually believe it will help them.

__________________________________________________ ___________________________

Apologies to Norman for plagiarizing his thread...

Ian McColgin
08-24-2009, 08:15 AM
Every rep of honor has at leasit something, some stand, that runs contrary to the instant gratification will of the constituent majority. That's one important purpose in electing people - judgement.

Try rereading Profiles in Courage.

08-24-2009, 08:26 AM
If the people you represent can't see their own advantage for the hounding they get from Fox News, the person representing them has to do what's right for them, rather that what they ill-informedly think they want.

Of course, their rep could spend some time educating them, especially if many of them actually came to listen as well as be heard.

Remember - a large number of these voters don't realize that their Medicare is a government administered program.

08-24-2009, 08:54 AM
A month ago they announced that Social security would not get a cost of living raise this coming year....last night on one of the news channels they announced that no cost of living raise for two years, and they are raising the fees for medicare each year......so those folks on social security have just taken a double, triple, quadruple hit in income, whether credited to Bush or Obama....after them saying that Medicare would not be touched.
About 3/4's of the folks at my dialysis center are there on Medicare and I'll bet that most are on Social security as their sole income.

08-24-2009, 09:00 AM
What? No Cola for seniors? Bonuses for VA employees while vets wait months for help?

Instead we have the elite getting huge bucks while dumbarse Liberals defend them. Oh the irony if one cares to back up a year or two.

How many bleeding heart liberals are on the front lines to bring our boys home today? Credibility lost.:mad:

08-24-2009, 09:27 AM
Yes, I think you have reached a new low for trying so desperately and transparently to spin this. :rolleyes:

Representative Massa stood up before his constituents and told them what his position is and why.

Only a partisan hack would try to spin that as a bad thing.

08-24-2009, 09:28 AM
Norman and LJ, What antiwar protests are you planning to attend?

08-24-2009, 09:47 AM
Go ahead... let's hear someone support THIS on 'elections have consequences' grounds.

I don't see any problems. The US is a representative democracy. The representative's duty is to do the best he can, not to be a faceless and voiceless conduit of the latest opinion polls from his district...


08-24-2009, 10:13 AM
You're absolutely right, Kaa... except that the choice between voting one's conscience and voting according to the perceived sentiments of one's constituents is still a problem.

Yes, but it has to be decided on the individual, case-by-case basis -- is that not so?

Besides, there are nuances -- voting "one's conscience" is not necessarily the same thing as voting what's best for the constituents even if they don't think so, which is not necessarily the same thing as voting what's best for the country, even if it's not optimal for the constituents.


08-24-2009, 10:19 AM
You're absolutely right, Kaa... except that t
It's a VERY tough call.

Exactly. I think that is the test. If its important enough that the offical is willing to loose his seat over it than ok. Few people will fault some one for standing for there principles and then accepting the results.

The problem here, and its entirely universal in our government today, is that this guy values his seat more than his principles and more than his constiuates. Hes in it for himself and only himself.


Tom Montgomery
08-24-2009, 10:19 AM
If we insist that our representatives always and in every case hold positions coinciding with the majority opinion of their constituents, there would be no need for them. We would declare the USA a Democracy, legislate by referendum, and be done with the Republic.

08-25-2009, 03:16 AM
The operative works are "In the Room"..Whose in the room, anyone check viter registration to make sure those in the room are actually his constituents. The town meetings are a joke. One Fox talking point after another. Most of them would poop themselves if they ever met a real Nazi. I certainly don't want my congressmen to vote with the town hall nuts. Even if they are carrying guns.
And its some one elses talking points to blame Fox, the DNC, I think. The Democrats control the House, the Senate and the Presidency. The only people to blame for not being able to pass health[care/insurance] reform is the democrats. Have you seen footage of the town hall events? A large number of the angry individuals are Very Senior Citizens, the only kind of people who could have seen a 'real Nazi.' They didn't poop themselves in 44, why should they now?


Art Read
08-25-2009, 07:43 AM
From Salon: Sounds like this "progressive" is as disturbed by videos like that as I am... Go ahead. Keep on "poo-pooing" your "wee-weed up" constituents. I dare you.

__________________________________________________ ___________________________

Liberalism without labor unions?
Hey Democrats: Can liberal interest groups and social elites really form the basis of a successful political party?

By Michael Lind

Aug. 25, 2009 | Can there be liberalism without labor? Can a progressive movement exist in a country in which organized labor has lost its political influence? My friend Mark Schmitt, the executive editor of the American Prospect, asks that question:

The new progressive coalition follows the lines of the "emerging Democratic majority" that Ruy Teixeira and John Judis predicted in their 2002 book of that name: minority, professional, and younger voters, with help from a large gender gap. This is a coalition that can win without a majority of white working-class voters, whether union members or not ... But it's also dangerous. A political coalition that doesn't need Joe the – fake – Plumber (John McCain's mascot of the white working class) can also afford to ignore the real Joes, Josés, and Josephines of the working middle class, the ones who earn $16 an hour, not $250,000 a year. It can afford to be unconcerned about the collapse of manufacturing jobs, casually reassuring us that more education is the answer to all economic woes. A party of professionals and young voters risks becoming a party that overlooks the core economic crisis – not the recession but the 40-year crisis – that is wiping out the American dream for millions of workers and communities that are never going to become meccas for foodies and Web designers.

Looking back, we can see that the history of American liberalism since the Depression falls into two periods: the New Deal up until the 1970s, when industrial labor provided the muscle of the reform coalition, and the neoliberal period, when unions have been eclipsed in the alliance by the black civil rights movement and other social movements: consumerism, environmentalism, feminism and gay rights. Necessary and important as they are, there are two problems with these liberal social movements as the base of a progressive party.

First, unlike unions, they are not membership organizations funded by dues from their members. They are mostly AstroTurf movements that depend on their funding and strategic direction on a handful of progressive foundations, and their leaders are appointed by donors and board members, not elected by followers. The work they do is valuable, but they cannot be substitutes for genuinely popular organizations.

Second, the members of most of these nonprofit movements are drawn disproportionately from the white college-educated professional class; their self-assignment to one or another single-issue movement does not disguise the fact that they tend to belong to the same social elite. Like the progressivism of the 1900s, but unlike the labor movement and agrarian populism, the progressivism of the 2000s is a movement of haves motivated by pity for the have-littles and have-nots, rather than a movement of have-littles and have-nots motivated by self-interest. And because they are, or believe themselves to be, motivated by philanthropy, the progressive haves are less interested in the economic struggles of the have-littles of the broad working class than in rescuing a far smaller number of have-nots from dire poverty. And even those elite progressives who are concerned about the working class are motivated by noblesse oblige: "We're from Washington, and we're here to help!"

Is the future of American liberalism a politics of charity rather than a politics of solidarity? In my darker moments, I sometimes wonder whether the relatively brief influence of labor unions in the Democratic Party in the mid-20th century was not an exception to the rule of elitism in American politics. You can write a narrative of American history in which, first, agrarian populism and 19th-century labor movements are crushed by repression and bloodshed by the 1900s. Then organized labor, after a brief, unforeseen period of influence from the 1930s to the 1960s, is crushed a second time by neoliberal Democrats and conservative Republicans alike, leaving an America in which the only significant conflicts are those within the economic elite. In such a political order, the only left that counts will be the left based on money rather than votes or members. Progressivism becomes a movement of the privileged and charitable who are interested in doing good to other Americans rather than with other Americans.

In such a system, it is hard to speak of a politics of the left at all, inasmuch as politics is a matter of popular participation. To be sure, before elections various non-elite groups must be mobilized to vote for the reformist party. But between elections, there is no need to consult the majority, although pollsters may take its temperature now and then. There is no need to for consultation because public policy is something that should be devised by experts, many of them in interest-group organizations, who study issues, come to their conclusions and propose plans. Why involve the public in devising the plans? Why even explain the plans? It's easier for the experts simply to work with the elected representatives, who can then hire other experts – consultants – to learn how to sell the policies to voters. And if the elected representatives fail in their task of winning a legislative majority and passing legislation – well, since the 1970s liberals have shown that they are willing to rely on unelected federal judges and federal agencies to push unpopular progressive reforms through, when they can't get the votes.

But an oligarchic system in which politics is a debate among graduates of the same elite schools in the same elite neighborhoods is not likely to be stable, particularly in a country like the U.S., where most of the gains of economic growth for a generation have gone to the top. If the game of politics is a game that effectively is limited to the rich and the professional class, then the rest will find tribunes – usually affluent and well-educated themselves – who will propose to turn over the gaming tables and open the doors to the casino. Would the absurd distortions of the current healthcare-reform backlash resonate so strongly if the white working-class felt more invested in the modern version of liberalism? Unlike the Progressive era that preceded it and the neoliberal era that followed, the New Deal era was remarkably free of anti-system protest figures like Eugene Debs, Huey Long, Ross Perot, Ralph Nader, Patrick Buchanan and Lou Dobbs. Not only labor unions but also genuine grassroots membership parties represented the values and interests of non-elite Americans and checked the disproportionate power of the investors, the corporate managers and the professionals.

Can parties or partylike organizations play the role once played in part by labor unions? During the New Deal era, the political parties still represented popular interests and values, even in areas of the country like the South and much of the West where unions had been defeated. The old kind of party machine is dead forever, but while the conservative movement had some success with direct mail campaigns, neither national party has seriously tried to mobilize ordinary Americans according to a partisan public philosophy, as distinct from manipulating particular groups of voters on the basis of single issues. A few years ago there was talk of the "netroots" as a new constituency, but Internet campaigns in practice seem to have mobilized liberals rather than to have converted voters to liberalism.

In the 47 years of my life I have received only one piece of mail from the Democratic Party – a letter inviting me to pay $1,500 to buy a seat at a table at a fundraiser. I don't receive any e-mails from the Democrats at all. At the same time, I am battered by direct mail from various single-issue liberal constituencies, seeking not my vote but my money. Because I am neither a big donor nor a reliable foot soldier for this or that single-issue movement, but merely a citizen, the Democratic Party as an organization evidently has no interest in me.

The labor movement, as a basis for a liberal politics, is unlikely to revive. But surely the Democrats – or better yet, a liberal movement distinct from the Democrats – could try to use modern communications techniques to try to mobilize voters in places outside affluent neighborhoods and college towns. The objective is not to sell Americans on poll-tested talking points, but to inspire them with a coherent vision of the past, present and future of the country. The effort would be difficult and divisive, and it might fail. But the alternative is more of what we see in the politics of healthcare and energy reform: a politics motivated by a mixture of philanthropy and profit and carried out by means of incremental insider corporatist negotiations, a politics that most Americans watch in frustration from a distance.

__________________________________________________ ____________________________

"If the people you represent can't see their own advantage for the hounding they get from Fox News, the person representing them has to do what's right for them, rather that what they ill-informedly think they want."

__________________________________________________ ____________________________

A PERFECT example, Emily.... Thank you!

Captain Blight
08-25-2009, 08:16 AM
I don't see any problems. The US is a representative democracy. The representative's duty is to do the best he can, not to be a faceless and voiceless conduit of the latest opinion polls from his district...

KaaVery well said. Mind you, there has to come a point where the Representative... represents. We are not a democracy, we are a representative oligarchy.

Paul Girouard
08-25-2009, 08:18 AM
This makes absolutely NO sense, whatsoever.

Like most of your posts.

I think the conservatives have benefitted far more, from the Internet, than have the liberals/progressives.

WBF must be a exception eh?

Based on the author's opinions, I'd say that the Democratic party is doing a good job not wasting resources on people it is highly unlikely to get support from.

Whats that nation debt # headed toward?

We need a graph here Kieth. :rolleyes:

Art Read
08-25-2009, 08:30 AM
"They've also been lied to and misled by the disinformation campaign. The woman who said that she didn't want government run health care in this country, and ALSO said 'they'd better stay away from my Medicare' was a prime example... duh!"


This is disingenuous, Norman. The elderly have very legitimate concerns that a "retirement" program that they have financed for decades is facing an existential threat from being gutted in a "reorganisation" that will change the "deal" just as they have come to rely on it.

MY parents, along with vast numbers of other seniors, aren't being "duped" by Fox News, Norman. They've managed their own lives, our countries' stewardship through depression, World War II and the Cold War and raised this "baby-boomer" generation to the highest standard of living in history quite well, thank you. Now they're watching their political "leaders" trying to foist their social "reform" agenda down their throats at their expense and then hear twits like that idiot in the video insist they know "better" how to arrange their final years and they're PISSED! If you can't understand that, you aren't listening.

Captain Blight
08-25-2009, 08:33 AM
Maybe he actually *does* know better.

Hey, it could happen.

Paul Girouard
08-25-2009, 08:35 AM
Speaking of that lil debt ,


08-25-2009, 08:39 AM
I've heard this said, again and again, by Republicans/conservatives... but I think it's overdone. The Democratic party has a VASTLY broader base than the Republican party, so it has to work a lot harder to find middle ground. Is this a bad thing? Obviously not, when it comes to winning elections... if the Republican base weren't so narrow, they might have done better in 2008. It does work against the Democrats when it comes to passing legislation, DESPITE the numerical advantage. For all those people who are criticizing the Dems for not being able (so far) to generate a cohesive voting block, just remember: it will be a long time in hell before any Republican legislative initiative will be passed in Congress... I guess that's why it's so easy to criticize.

I'm not criticizing the Democrats, I'm defending the Republicans.

Yeah, it was lack of conservative base that cause them trouble in 2008. It had nothing to do with the bumbling president. Sure.

They've also been lied to and misled by the disinformation campaign. The woman who said that she didn't want government run health care in this country, and ALSO said 'they'd better stay away from my Medicare' was a prime example... duh!
It is and it Isn't. Medicare isn't supposed to be a political play thing. Of course it is, but its not supposed to be. And I'm not sure labling people who disagree with you as having been "lied to and misled," is helpful. Their is a lot of misinformation going around, no one has the monopoly on that.

I always find it funny that the same people who hate on the government for mishandling the Iraq and Afghanistan (and Vietnam) wars, complain about the nature of disaster aid, turn around and want that same government to manage health care? its a disingenuous disconnect.


Captain Blight
08-25-2009, 08:59 AM
Let's remember that advancing age doesn't automatically confer wisdom or greater intelligence. There are plenty of deeply stupid, credulous, ideologically-entrenched idiots who qualify for Medicare. Many of them vote.

Art Read
08-25-2009, 09:25 AM
"Let's remember that advancing age doesn't automatically confer wisdom or greater intelligence. There are plenty of deeply stupid, credulous, ideologically-entrenched idiots who qualify for Medicare. Many of them vote."


Unfortunately, they breed voters, too. How else to exlpain Pelosi, Reid, Dodd, Boxer, Frank, etc., etc...:p

Captain Blight
08-25-2009, 09:28 AM
How else to explain Bush, Cheney, Gingrich....?

08-25-2009, 09:30 AM
"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with an average voter" -- Winston Churchill


Keith Wilson
08-25-2009, 09:58 AM
This is silly.

Here's how representative democracy works: the voters elect representatives. The representatives then do whatever they want to, for good or bad reasons. If the voters don't like what they do, they'll elect somebody else next time.. Complaining that a representative does what he thinks is right, rather than polling his constituents - well, all it really means is "I don't like what he's doing."

More whining.

Dane Allen
08-25-2009, 01:01 PM
Let's remember that advancing age doesn't automatically confer wisdom or greater intelligence. There are plenty of deeply stupid, credulous, ideologically-entrenched idiots who qualify for Medicare. Many of them vote.

And many of them post on this board.