Will Dems Remember Their Progressive Base?

The LA Times has an interesting article about the expectations of progressive groups, members of which worked hard for the Dems in the election and are expecting action, not compromise, on their issues. Among them: the repeal of the worst provisions of the Patriot Act.

Turning off those new voters could undermine Democrats' hopes of solidifying their new majorities and taking the White House in 2008. But to the leaders of interest groups who are core supporters of the Democratic Party, and who had been barred under Republican rule from the inner sanctums of power, the new Congress means a time for action, not compromise.

"We are not going to let them off the hook," said Caroline Fredrickson, the ACLU's legislative director, of the newly empowered Democratic leaders in Congress. "We will hold their feet to the fire and use all the tools we can to mobilize our members."

Other issues and groups with high expectations:

Similar vows are coming from lobbyists for abortion rights, who want to expand family-planning options for poor women and scale back Bush's focus on abstinence education, and from gun-control advocates, who hope to revive a lapsed ban on assault weapons. Labor unions, a core Democratic constituency, are demanding universal healthcare and laws discouraging corporations from seeking inexpensive labor overseas.

"It's been kind of a drought for 12 years, and there is some pent-up energy," said Bill Samuel, legislative director for the AFL-CIO, the labor federation that has long been a Democratic Party stalwart and spent millions of dollars on get-out-the-vote activities.

So what's on the Dems' agenda? First up will be:

Day 1: On the first day of the 2007 Congress, adopt new rules to "break the link between lobbyists and legislation."

Day 2: Enact all the recommendations made by the commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Next two days: Raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour. Cut in half the interest rate on student loans. Allow the government to negotiate directly with the pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices for Medicare patients. Broaden the types of stem cell research allowed with federal funds. Institute a "pay as you go" system, requiring that any spending or tax-cut proposal must include a way to pay for it.

What's likely not to be on the agenda for the remainder of this year?

Apparently dead for the year is legislation approving Bush's wiretapping of suspected terrorists' phone calls and e-mails from abroad without court warrants.

I think we are all going to have to be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day.

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    We'll See (none / 0) (#1)
    by Slado on Mon Nov 13, 2006 at 08:23:58 AM EST
    The repulicans sure as hell forgot their base sometime between their revolt in 1994 and the successes of 2000 and 2004.  

    I think it's the lure of the beltway.   You fight so hard to get to the top, then when you're there you worry about staying on top instead of what got you there.  

    It's a double edge sword when it comes to the bases of both parties.  You need them when your down but when your on top you want to pretend like you're everyone's freind, then your no ones freind and they throw you out.

    That's certainly what happened to the republicans.  They forgot that they were the party of strong ideas and limited govermenent and America decided if we're going to be goverened by democrats we might as well have the real thing.

    Slado... I agree completely. (none / 0) (#2)
    by Edger on Mon Nov 13, 2006 at 08:37:32 AM EST
    One of the differences I see though is that there appear to be some republicans (rethugs, not real republicans)  joining the democrats and claiming to be democrats so they can try to move the democrats away from their core values and base and to the right far enough that they'll get them doing the same things the same ways that the republicans have been doing for the past six years.

    Wanting power at any cost, corruption is their only core value.


    Repubs forgot who they were? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jlvngstn on Mon Nov 13, 2006 at 04:07:15 PM EST
    So did you vote for them being that they fostered big govt and forgot who they were?

    are you kidding me (none / 0) (#3)
    by soccerdad on Mon Nov 13, 2006 at 09:40:50 AM EST
    progressive polices by the Dems now thats comedy.

    Doesn't anyone pay attention to what thos in power in the Dem party say.

    progressive politics within the Dem party are dead. But beware the poseurs who will say the right things and then forget you as soon as they are elected ala bill clinton.

    Our hope should be... (none / 0) (#4)
    by Bill Arnett on Mon Nov 13, 2006 at 11:25:19 AM EST
    ...the Democrats are wise enough to write and pass simple, clear, ONE ISSUE bills with which we can really put bush on the spot.

    The instant we start trying to introduce omnibus, complicated legislation we leave the door open to vetoes for any of a number of reasons, so I would urge dems to Keep It Simple Stupid.

    And they should pass a law immediately that "signing statements" are of no NO LEGAL CONSEQUENCE and CANNOT BE CONSIDERED BY ANY COURT for ANY PURPOSE WHATEVER.

    Let's return to a straight up veto of legislation or the signing and enforcement of the legislation AS IT WAS PASSED. And vetoes can be overridden, signing statements are pure BS.

    Soc (none / 0) (#6)
    by Che's Lounge on Mon Nov 13, 2006 at 07:20:23 PM EST
    It's like joining the mafia. Once you're in, it's impossible not to be beholden to someone. Not the ones that GOT you there. The ones who can KEEP you there. They will figure it out the first time they want to vote down a defense bill that supports their local economy.