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Congressional Democrats, Think Bigger!

A lame-duck session doesn't actually mean you have to be lame, Democrats.

Post-2014 Democrats are making me stabby and mean, mostly because they're doing things that suggest they're not getting the right message.

Take, for example, the current Senate agenda. With less than 15 legislative days left, the Senate has an opportunity to confirm President Obama's judiciary nominees with a simple majority vote. They can take a confirmation vote on Loretta Lynch, the Attorney General nominee to replace Eric Holder. They can confirm Vivek Murthy as the Surgeon General.

All of these things can happen, but instead what I'm hearing is that they're going to take a vote on the Keystone XL pipeline to prop up Mary Landrieu's sure-to-fail runoff bid. I'm not the only one hearing that, either, as the Maddow segment above illustrates.

Seriously? A vote on Keystone XL which runs counter to all policy coming from the White House right now? And as Rachel points out, that's a vote on a bill authored by Landrieu's opponent, which may as well serve as a vote by Louisiana voters to elect him in Landrieu's place.

If this is something being done in the spirit of bipartisanship, Democrats should climb out of their bunkers and look around, because there hasn't been anything like bipartisanship for the past six years and it's hardly about to start now.

You would think Democrats could see the handwriting on the wall after these last elections. Voters don't want wishy-washy handmaidens of Wall Street. If they're going to elect handmaidens, they'll take the tough authoritarian kind with the Koch-flavored policy choices. We Democratic voters want representatives who are going to step up and stand up for our interests. Quit playing footsie with Republicans who aren't in the least interested in you.

Think about the Democratic Senators who are no longer Senators, just in the past few years. See any similarities?

Blanche Lincoln, Max Baucus, Joe Lieberman, Mark Begich, Christopher Dodd, Evan Bayh, Bob Kerrey, and Kent Conrad. All gone.

All corporate Democrats. Blue Dogs.

Listen up, Democrats! If you want to have a party in 2016 you'd better decide between Wall Street and people.


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Here are some ways you can do that right now.

  1. Nancy Pelosi, do not even consider appointing this guy as the new head of the DCCC. If you want to be the Speaker of the House again, find a DCCC head who can recruit and support progressive Dems, not the billionaire-licking Goldman Sachs types.
  2. Harry Reid, forget about Keystone XL votes and get some judges confirmed.
  3. Put Elizabeth Warren in a leadership position
  4. FIGHT. Fight now, fight tomorrow, fight next year. Screw the Joe Manchins and scaredy Dems. Fight on their turf on your terms.

Finally, one last piece of advice for Dems. Listen to Bill DeBlasio:

As a Democrat, I'm disappointed in last Tuesday's results. But as a progressive, I know my party need not search for its soul -- but rather, its backbone.

The truth is that the Democratic Party has core values that are very much in sync with most Americans.

We believe in taking dead aim at the income inequality that infects our communities -- from big cities like New York, to small towns and rural areas across the United States.

We believe that the wealthy should pay their fair share so we can lift people out of poverty and grow our middle class.

And we believe in rules that prevent big corporations and Wall Street banks from unraveling workers' pensions, suppressing employees' wages and benefits, and rigging the system to reward wealth instead of work.

This year, too many Democratic candidates lost sight of those core principles -- opting instead to clip their progressive wings in deference to a conventional wisdom that says bold ideas aren't politically practical.

To working people, it showed Democratic weakness -- a weak commitment to the change desperately sought by struggling families, and a weak alternative to a Republican philosophy that has held America back.

Bold, progressive ideas win elections.

Timid, namby-pamby "save Landrieu" moves are a sure turnoff. Go big, Democrats.

And that goes for you, too, President Obama. Keep that streak you're on going. Go big with the immigration executive order and include as many as possible.

I'm tired of being lumped with losers for being "nice." The time for "nice" is over. Go big, go bold, and above all, reach for the ideals that inspired us all over the years.

I didn't sign up for the party of pistol-whipped legislators. I signed up for the party who stands up for people and does big things. So fight for them. It's easier to forgive someone who tries and fails than someone who fails to try.

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