The last thing that 99ers are concerned with at this juncture is politics as usual. Being from the State of Michigan, I was enormously proud of the actions of Senator Debbie Stabenow in at least attempting to get The Americans Want to Work Act S.3706 passed by bringing the bill up for passage by unanimous consent last week. Even though it was highly expected that this effort would fail, this effort at least continued to bring some much needed attention to the current plight of our country’s 5 ½+ million and growing group of unemployed that have exhausted all of their unemployment insurance benefits. As a moderate Democrat, I believe that the effort by the Democratic Party on this issue was however left sorely wanting. It is my opinion that this bill should have at least been presented to the floor for a cloture vote before the Senate recessed early prior to the mid-term elections.
Only one other Senator spoke on the issue along side Senator Stabenow: Senator Whitehouse (D) of Rhode Island. This writer asks the question, where were the other 11 co-sponsors of the bill and in particular were was Senator Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader who is one of the 11 co-sponsors? It is rumored that the reason the Democrats did not push this any harder before the election is that they knew that this bill would be filibustered by the Republicans so they did not pursue it further for fear of looking weak going into the mid-terms. This is where I believe the Democrats fell on their own sword and missed a terrific opportunity to gain the hearts and souls of the 5 ½+ million 99ers and a significant majority of the general public going into the mid-terms.
The Democrats chose to sweep this issue under the rug going into the mid-term elections. The fact that majority leadership in both the House (Pelosi) and the Senate (Reid) decided to adjourn early so members could go home to campaign shows a total lack of leadership, and for this we have every right to judge their performance as unacceptable! We did not put them in leadership positions so they could simply run away from the fight because they were more concerned about getting themselves re-elected. For this reason, and this reason alone, these two people should not receive the votes of tried and true Democrats in their respective re-election campaigns!
Some type of message needs to be sent to our politicians that cowardice will not be rewarded. As much as I do not want Reid’s Senate seat turned over to a Tea Party candidate, I doubt that losing this one seat could do any more harm to the party than his lack of leadership on this issue in the Senate. The same can be said for Pelosi’s inaction on this issue in the House; it should cost Pelosi her seat as well.
As I see the potential for getting a Tier V passed being much great if the House and Senate remain in Democratic control, I am not advocating a whole sale slaughter of the Democratic Party in the upcoming mid-terms, but it would not break my heart to see Pelosi and Reid voted into retirement either.
In general, I believe that the Democratic Party made their re-election to office much more difficult by dodging this issue going into the mid-terms. I know they lost my respect, and I’m a tried and true long time Democrat. I know from reading many other 99er blogs that MANY of these 99ers are just simply livid at the Democrats for hanging them out to dry like this and they want their pound of flesh come election time. For me, I only ask for two heads on a platter, those of Pelosi and Reid. Let them be the lesson to the next group of Democrats going into the 112’TH session of Congress that cowardice and attempts at self-preservation at the expense of others will not be rewarded. Leadership is not a trumpet call to self-importance; it is an opportunity to serve, and we do not need elected leaders that put their own self-interest before doing their duty!