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Steve Cobble Headshot

Rahm, Are You #*%@!#* Kidding Me?

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Ignore me if you want. After all, Van Jones has been an inspiration to me, I'm antiwar, pro-single-payer, pro-impeachment, a long-time member of the Jackson/Kucinich wing of the Democratic Party. I know I'm easy to dismiss. But seriously, dude--since when do you deal with right-wing wolves by feeding them sacrificial lambs?
I thought you were the tough guy. I thought you sneered at critics, laughed in the face of danger, sent dead fish to your enemies.
I gotta say, lately you've been looking pretty weak. The loony wing of the Republican Party is scaring you and your homies to death by sending some screamers to a few town halls to spout nonsensical non sequiturs in loud voices. For crying out loud, you got stared down and outmaneuvered all summer by Chuck Grassley, of all people!
Plus your Blue Dog buddies and the so-called "centrist" Senators are rolling you on health care, whining endlessly, contradicting themselves every other day, eviscerating Ted Kennedy's life work and the President's plan--the plan that America voted for last fall! The pitiful thing is, they're sinking the Democratic Party boat despite the fact that it's their "swing district" political buddies clinging to the electoral lifejackets, not the progressive members. Did they learn nothing from what happened to your crowd back in '94--who lost their seats when too many loyal Democrats stayed home and the Gingrich counter-revolution rolled through rural America? Seems to me there were a lot of swing DLC Dems that were swamped by the right-wing tides after NAFTA passed and health care failed (can you say "Senator" Jim Cooper? or "Senator" Dave McCurdy? Not.)
And what's this bad new habit you guys have validated, where conservative Senators negotiate with themselves in secret, leaving the bulk of the Democrats on the sidelines, while they whittle down what could have been a winning Medicare-for-anyone option to a piece of unidentifiable sludge that not even your allies can properly describe, define, or defend. Now there are leaks that you're going to triangulate even that piece of sludge away tonight--I sure hope not. Do you play poker that badly? Do you announce how much you can afford to raise before your opponents have even put in their antes?
And for what? To prove to David Broder and Fred Hiatt that you guys are not "owned" by progressives. I would have thought that escalating a stupid, illegal, unwinnable war in Afghanistan would have already taken care of that.
Now you guys have thrown Van Jones under the back of the bus, at midnight on Saturday on a holiday weekend?! Is that how you build team spirit? Is that how you fire up the progressive base to protect your flank? Surely you, Rahm, cannot really think that offering up Van as a human sacrifice will convince the right-wing fanatics to stop...Yeah, that's just how right-wing vampires work...once they get a taste of progressive blood, they just calm right down and go away...Just like they did when your previous boss callously abandoned Lani Guinier to that generation of vampires...did they fly back to their caves then?
Look, I know you don't care what I think ideologically. I know I'm part of the "untouchables," the left wing of the party that's supposed to provide millions of votes at election time and then just shut up for two more years. (You know, the part of the party your current boss grew up in politically.) And yeah, because Van Jones is a friend of mine, I'm extra offended that you guys are letting that race-baiting hater Glenn Beck do a victory dance on Van's head.
But at least you should care what this episode says about you, and your team. Kicking Van Jones to the curb just because Glenn Beck is yapping at your heels tells progressives that you guys are weak, that you won't have our backs even when we have yours (as Van did). What should scare you more is that this episode also blares "WEAKNESS" to the right-wing wolf pack. It says your only defense for lies and slander and partisan hyperbole is caving in, human sacrifice, jettisoning your left flank.
Guess what? That makes our side discouraged and their side fired up...Duh...
To paraphrase a famous politico, it would be a shame to waste this crisis. So how about tonight you guys change course? Would it help if I sent you a dead fish?
If your boss--whom I like--gets up there tonight, speaks truth to cowards, and draws a serious line in the sand on health care, you can begin to turn this listing ship around.
Go ahead, get him to say the magic words: "Choice of Medicare for Anyone."

He'll kick ass. The crowd will go wild. The tide will turn.
But he cannot show weakness--he's got to show some fire, some grit, some pushback. He's got to show he's willing to fight for real change we can believe in--that he means it...
Partly because it's the right thing for the country. Partly because we can't afford more lost years of inhumane policy in Washington. Partly because it's what so many people voted for last November. And partly because your opponents have concluded--erroneously, I hope--that he's too weak to do so. That you're too weak to stand up for anything.
Counterpunch tonight, Rahm. Surprise everybody. Do it for the 47 million Americans without health care. Do it for President Obama, so he can get his mojo back. Hell, do it for Van...you owe him one...

(hat tip to Alice for this one)