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Liberals gone wild.

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by NewYorker, Oct 11, 2007.

  1. NewYorker

    NewYorker Ghost of Clutch Fans

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/12/washington/12memo.html?_r=1&hp=&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print





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    October 12, 2007
    Congressional Memo
    Liberal Base Proves Trying to Democrats
    By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
    WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 — Of the three most recognizable Barneys in America, one is a singing purple dinosaur, another is a prehistoric cartoon character and the third is a gay congressman from Massachusetts.

    Representative Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat, is as closely tied to the issue of gay rights as Barney Rubble is to Fred Flintstone. But recently, Mr. Frank has been under siege by gay rights groups.

    They are angry because Mr. Frank has removed specific language about “gender identity” from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would protect gay men and lesbians in the workplace and that gay rights advocates say would now leave transsexuals and transgender individuals vulnerable.

    There is almost no chance that President Bush would ever sign the bill. But the bitter tug of war between gay groups and one of their best friends on Capitol Hill is the latest example of how Democrats in Congress, since regaining majority control this year, have been torn between making compromises needed to pass legislation and satisfying the unrelenting demands of the party’s liberal base.

    Mr. Frank, in an hourlong news conference on Thursday, defended himself and said he would press ahead with the bill knowing that by not including the transgender language he could attract enough votes to get it approved. But he also expressed frustration that the Democrats were hampering themselves.

    “There is a tendency in American politics for the people who feel most passionately about an issue, particularly ones that focus on a single issue, to be unrealistic in what a democratic political system can deliver,” Mr. Frank said, “and that can be self-defeating.”

    “This is a moment of truth for responsible liberals in the Democratic Party,” he added.

    The tension between Democratic lawmakers and their base has been most visible on the Iraq war, where the insistence by some of the most outspoken antiwar groups on setting hard deadlines for the withdrawal of American troops has often handcuffed Senate Democrats trying to reach a bipartisan deal on legislation to change the war strategy.

    To the delight of Republicans, it has also played a role in a host of other issues, including a fight over increased fuel economy standards in the energy bill, and demands for more spending on environmental programs in the farm bill.

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi disappointed Democrats seeking major changes to the federal farm subsidy program — changes that Ms. Pelosi had supported in the past. Instead she adopted a more moderate approach that made some changes but left most of the subsidies intact and that she called “a good first step.”

    On the energy bill, the Democrats struggled to navigate the demands of two powerful factions in their base: organized labor groups tied to the auto industry and environmental groups. Representative John D. Dingell, Democrat of Michigan, thwarted Ms. Pelosi’s efforts to increase fuel efficiency standards.

    The liberal group MoveOn.org started a campaign that included radio advertising branding Mr. Dingell, who is 81, “Dingellsaurus” for opposing the energy standards that the group said would combat global warming.

    Representative Adam H. Putnam of Florida, chairman of the House Republican Conference, said Democrats were struggling with tensions between the party’s liberal wing, which provided money and support for the 2006 elections, and the views of many freshmen Democrats who won office in moderate or conservative districts.

    “The freshmen who actually won seats in districts that had voted for Bush, in conservative-moderate districts, having nothing in common with Code Pink or MoveOn,” Mr. Putnam said, referring to the antiwar groups.

    “The base turns on them in every single case,” he added. “So at some point they have to stop falling into the trap of constantly playing to the base and try to solve problems.”

    Democrats point to a series of legislative achievements this year, including an increase in the minimum wage, new lobbying and ethics rules, and an overhaul of student-aid programs, and a spokesman for Ms. Pelosi, Brendan Daly, said she was providing responsible leadership.

    “One of the things she says is that an activist — that’s their role to be persistent and unsatisfied and try to push the envelope,” Mr. Daly said. “But when you are in a position of leading, in Congress, you have to be realistic at some point.”

    Sometimes, though, the in-fighting can seem unreal, as with the recent fury directed by gay groups at Mr. Frank.

    “Barney Frank is not gay enough?” asked Representative Thaddeus McCotter, Republican of Michigan, one of the most conservative members of the House .

    Even Mr. Frank acknowledged the weirdness. “The likelihood that somebody is going to run against me in my district on the grounds that I have been insufficiently pro-gay is not very high on my list of concerns,” he said.

    He has put gender identity protections in a separate bill that is not expected to be acted upon this year.

    But many gay rights groups said they were truly angry and bewildered, especially because the compromise involves a bill unlikely to be signed by Mr. Bush. A coalition of some 280 groups sent Mr. Frank a letter urging him to include gender identity in the bill to be voted on soon. “What we are talking about is stripping out a part of our community for a symbolic vote, which in our opinion does not advance the struggle for civil rights for our people,” said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

    “If the goal here is for the new majority to demonstrate that it is responding to a core constituency,” Mr. Foreman said, “passing a non-inclusive bill is not going to accomplish that.”

    Some Republicans in the House have said they wished Mr. Frank had included the language on transgender and transsexual people because it would have made it easier for them to vote against the bill.

    Mr. Frank, at his news conference, said that including gender identity would kill the bill while approving a compromise measure would be a momentous step. “It is an important sign to the rest of the country that we are making progress,” he said.

    “On the other hand,” he continued, “an announcement that this new Democratic Congress led by a woman who has been as committed to full rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in every aspect of her career, that she had to kill a gay rights bill and couldn’t do anything at all would, I think, be the most negative message we could send.”



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  2. NewYorker

    NewYorker Ghost of Clutch Fans

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    One has to wonder how Liberals, who pained for so many years about a Republican party that was pandering to an ultraconservative base, don't see what they are doing.

    By being uncompromising and pushing for an all or none approach, they risk tossing about the majority they built in congress by appealing to MODERATES.

    Warning to moveon.org and other ultra-liberal groups: Don't attack the moderates, they will go back to the GOP in a heartbeat.
     
  3. FranchiseBlade

    FranchiseBlade Contributing Member
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    The article is about Barney Frank moving more toward the middle in the bill. Barney Frank is definitely a liberal. I don't blame gay rights groups for being upset though.

    I also don't see gay rights groups wanting to make sure they aren't being discriminated against as an attack on moderates or anyone else, but bigots.

    As for MoveOn, they've done some things I don't agree with, but it turns out in their most recently publicized action, they were right.
     
  4. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
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    The article though says that Democrats are not pandering to their extremists wing and are compromising. The Dems and Repubs are giant coalitions so there are bound to be differences internally and whichever party succeeds is the one that is best able to hold onto their coalitions. Its natural that some party activists will be dissapointed but in the end all that matters is who they will fund and vote for.
     
  5. NewYorker

    NewYorker Ghost of Clutch Fans

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    Seems like the extreme left is paralyzing congress by forcing deems into issues they can't pass. It helps explain why they haven't gotten much done, because their base is being a barrier - that means they are indeed pandering to it to enough degree that all the rest of us are seeing very little done.
     
  6. A_3PO

    A_3PO Member

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    It's good to see the Dems push back and show moderation. I couldn't care less what ultra-liberals want if the Dems don't bow the knee to every cause. Hopefully after the 2008 election thrashing of the GOP, the Dems will continue holding their ground. Hillary, Pelosi and Reid just need to look back to 1994 and to the GOP crash and burn under Bush to see what happens when the majority party walks way out of step with the American public.
     
  7. thumbs

    thumbs Contributing Member

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    Concur -- although, for America's sake, I pray the future President is not Hillary.
     
  8. thumbs

    thumbs Contributing Member

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    When was MoveOn.Org ever right? I'll bet that, if you walked in their office, you would only see the left half of their torsos. They are so far left that right is anathema to them, so wrong is the only position that is left. :D
     
    #8 thumbs, Oct 12, 2007
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2007
  9. FranchiseBlade

    FranchiseBlade Contributing Member
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    They were correct in that Petreus played fast and loose with the facts in his Iraq report to congress.
     
  10. thumbs

    thumbs Contributing Member

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    You know, FB, sometimes life (and the CF board) is not that serious. Have you ever thought about kicking back with a little nitrous oxide? ;)
     
  11. NewYorker

    NewYorker Ghost of Clutch Fans

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    Who doesn't???
     
  12. Refman

    Refman Contributing Member

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    People talk about those groups changing how the Dems handle issues. The article shows how that is in fact, not the case. I have a lot of respect for Mr. Frank.

    The extremist groups one day will talk about how they are changing. It will become obvious that they will have merely done a complete 360. :D
     
  13. geeimsobored

    geeimsobored Contributing Member

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    Wait so why is moveon.org considered super-extreme? I still don't get it.

    Aside from the Betrayus add (which seems like a big argument over stupid semantics) as opposed to the actual issue which was Petraeus's politicization of his role and his speech. (which no one has disputed) and Bush's strategic use of Petraeus to basically deflect any criticism of the Iraq policy.

    Same thing with their other anti-war stuff. Seriously, they're not saying anything amazingly radical. Demands for withdrawal from Iraq are pretty common now so its not something that we should be shocked at.

    So please point out the radical stuff they've done. I haven't watched any of their ads or any of their work but I'm curious.
     
  14. FranchiseBlade

    FranchiseBlade Contributing Member
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    What does that have to do with anything. They were singled out about all the other people implied in your "who doesn't " question. They were attacked, and even had a resolution passed denouncing their ad about Petraeus.
     
  15. FranchiseBlade

    FranchiseBlade Contributing Member
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    That's my normal state of mind, thumbs. I thought it was obvious. :cool:
     
  16. NewYorker

    NewYorker Ghost of Clutch Fans

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    I think you got it backwards - moveon.org was attacking and smearing someone in a grotesque and disinjenious way. Those ads were made even before he had a chance to speak in front of congress. They didn't care what he was going to say, they are about their anti-war movement, not about the truth.

    Everyone tells a story that they see it thier world. No one ever speaks the absolute reality, because no one really knows it. there's no such thing. But despite their attacks on him, even Hillary has praised "betrayus", apparently that's not good enough for the extreme liberals though.

    I think organizations like moveon.org are total fanaticism. they are programed to do whatever it takes to push their agenda. Their agenda has become bigger than what it was meant to be in the first place. Corrupted by power. What started as grassroots is now a political action group and machine - populated by liberals to push an agenda.
     
  17. FranchiseBlade

    FranchiseBlade Contributing Member
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    MoveOn was attacking, but it turns out that others have shown that their attacks weren't without merit, that the person that was supposed to be telling the truth, was actually fudging the facts. That is a betrayal. The ads were about someone the President has appointed as the spokesman for Iraq, stating things that were inaccurate and painted a rosier than real picture of Iraq.

    You can claim whatever you want about MoveOn, and I might even agree with most of it. But the Betrayus ad doesn't provide much ammo towards that cause.
     
  18. NewYorker

    NewYorker Ghost of Clutch Fans

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MoveOn.org_ad_controversy

    One can always claim any attack is not without merit. But in this case, it's clear that the people doing the betraying is MoveOn. Maybe it's time for MoveOn to MoveOn to something that actually will benefit the American people.

    Patraeus is a hero, Gore is a patsy. The irony of the left to try to reverse that is not lost on the middle.
     

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