How Democratic-Party "Activism" Is Done

Daily Kos sent an email on December 6 promoting a strategy  to eliminate the “Bush” tax cuts on the wealthy:

This will really make John Boehner cry

David, please send an email to your member of the House of Representatives, telling him or her to sign the discharge petition that would force an up or down vote on ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%. Click here to send an email.

House Republican leaders are refusing to hold a vote on ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%. However, there is a way we can get around them and force a vote to take place.

If 218 members of the House of Representatives sign what is known as a “discharge petition,” then the House will have to hold a vote, no matter what Republican leaders think.

House Democrats filed a discharge petition on Tuesday, and already 178 members have signed it. We only need 40 more.

Please, email your member of the House of Representatives, telling him or her to sign the discharge petition, or thanking him or her for signing it.

Keep fighting,
Chris Bowers
Campaign Director, Daily Kos

Naturally, I’m more interested in slowing the rise of plutocracy than in making Boehner cry, but this seemed like a decent enough initiative, even a small-d democractic one.  There was no mention of military spending here, of course.  But it was OK as far as it went.

Then came a proposal from President Obama to continue the “Bush” tax cuts for a large section of the super-wealthy, and to cut Social Security.  Daily Kos continued to ignore Pentagon spending, dropped the subject of the tax cuts, and focused on Social Security.  This was on December 18:

Take immediate action to protect Social Security:

David, please send an email to President Obama urging him to take Social Security cuts off the table in fiscal showdown negotiations.

In his most recent attempt to strike a deal with Republicans, President Obama has proposed new cuts to Social Security by switching to the chained consumer price index, which would reduce benefits for current and future recipients of the program, with benefits shrinking further over time.

This proposed benefit cut goes against previous statements from the White House which indicated that Social Security cuts would not be part of negotiations because Social Security is not the cause of or solution to our budget woes. On November 26, 2012, White House spokesperson Jay Carney stated, “Social Security is not currently a driver of the deficit. That’s an economic fact.”

Cutting Social Security benefits for millions of vulnerable Americans is not an acceptable compromise and does not address economic problems.

Please, send an email to President Obama asking him to drop his proposed cuts to Social Security.

Keep fighting,
Joan McCarter, Daily Kos

Remarkably, this email actually proposed pushing back against the outrageous policies of President Obama.  How long could that last?

Not long.  By December 20, with Obama tossing Social Security and probably Medicare overboard, and with Pelosi and other Democrats going along, Daily Kos suddenly decided that the place to take a stand was actually on Medicaid.  Again, Daily Kos ignores war preparations spending.  It drops all mention of taxing billionaires or millionaires.  And now Social Security is gone.  We’re down to drawing a line on the sand to protect the one program the Democrats are not attacking:


David, please ask Congress to leave Medicaid cuts out of any and all negotiations over the budget.

Right now, leaders from both parties are in Washington, DC trying to make a deal on taxes and spending before we hit the so-called fiscal cliff.

Cuts to Medicaid should not be part of the deal. Period.

Something has to give. We have to find more money somewhere, but we shouldn’t find it in the pockets of the middle class, elderly, or working families who can’t afford it.

Please join with Daily Kos and our partners at SEIU by signing the petition calling on Congress to leave Medicaid out of any and all fiscal cliff budget negotiations.

Keep Fighting
Michael Miller, Daily Kos

What could explain this gradual shift toward demanding whatever doesn’t much need to be demanded?

Here’s one possible explanation, from Daily Kos’s description of itself:

“This is a Democratic blog, a partisan blog. One that recognizes that Democrats run from left to right on the ideological spectrum, and yet we’re all still in this fight together. We happily embrace centrists like NDN’s Simon Rosenberg and Howard Dean, conservatives like Martin Frost and Brad Carson, and liberals like John Kerry and Barack Obama. Liberal? Yeah, we’re around here and we’re proud. But it’s not a liberal blog. It’s a Democratic blog with one goal in mind: electoral victory. And since we haven’t gotten any of that from the current crew, we’re one more thing: a reform blog. The battle for the party is not an ideological battle. It’s one between establishment and anti-establishment factions. And as I’ve said a million times, the status quo is untenable.”

I can just about agree with that last bit.

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