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While we were watching OccupyWallStreet…

… it appears that our Congress was paying absolutely no attention at all.  Greg Sargent’s Plum Line has the gritty details about how Republicans, and some Democrats, are planning to vote down Obama’s jobs bill.  The entrails do not look good for Democrats in red states that oppose the bill according to Stan Greenberg:

Top pollster Stanley Greenberg is not shy about criticizing the White House when he thinks it’s warranted, and his opinion is widely respected by Democrats in Congress. So if Greenberg tells moderate Senate Democrats that they vote against Obama’s jobs bill at their ownperil, will they believe him?

In an interview with me this morning, Greenberg made a strong case that moderate Senate Democrats in red states would be foolish and shortsighted if they vote against the American Jobs Act today, as some of them appear to be prepared to do. The White House and Dems have been railing against Republicans for opposing the jobs bill, but if a few Senate Dems defect, and a simple majority of the Senate doesn’t support it, that will dilute the Dem message that Republicans are the key obstacle to progress on the economy.

But Greenberg’s case for voting for the bill went significantly beyond this concern about overall party messaging. He argued that moderate Democrats who vote against it are actually imperiling their ownreelection chances.

“They reduce their risks for reelection by showing support for a jobs bill that’s going to be increasingly popular as voters learn more about it,” Greenberg said. “They have to be for something on the economy, and this the kind of proposal they should support. If I were advising them, I’d say you want to be backing a jobs bill with middle class tax cuts paid for by tax hikes on millionaires. Moderate voters in these states very much want to raise taxes on the wealthy to meet our obligations.”

That bill leaves a lot to be desired for sure, but those of us out of work need jobs.  If the OccupyWallStreet movement hasn’t gotten through to Congresscritters yet, let me spell it out: Any organized opposition to putting people to work is going to be extremely unpopular.  Maybe that will fall most heavily on the Republicans, but I recall that it wasn’t too long ago that Tim Geithner said on behalf of the Obama Treasury Department that life was about to get a lot more unpleasant for the unemployed.

You know, I just find that unacceptable.

If the (inadequate) jobs bill goes down, expect a lot more unpleasantness between the 99% and the people who are standing in the way of living wages and decent healthcare.  If Congress is this politically tone deaf, a good number of them need to be replaced.  If I were them, I’d be cautious because OccupyWallStreet looks like the perfect forum to explore starting a third party and there is enough time between now and November 2012 to make a difference.

Dear Democratic Party

Will you please get your shit together?

The NYTimes is reporting today that some of you want to break up Obama’s (less than adequate but at least it’s something) Jobs Bill into tiny pieces that you think *might* pass.  Do any of you remember your party’s history?  This is a Lesser Depression.  Maybe we’re not all starving in some turf home in Dust Bowl Oklahoma but this is very serious.  It calls for a comprehensive plan and courage to see it through, even if the morons on TV convince the Republican base that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.

I don’t know what you guys are up to but from the outside, it looks like a bunch of chickens who just cut their own heads off.  You guys were once dominant in politics and gave us Medicare and the Peace Corps and Sesame Street.  You looked after the post office (BTW, do you have any idea how expensive it is to send a high school logo sweatshirt and a pound of Skittles to your former French exchange student in Avignon by FedEx?  I sent it USPS for a small fraction of the FedEx quote.  Yeah, put THAT in some campaign ads.)

The optics are not good.  There is no unity.  There doesn’t seem to be a plan.  And your leadership is too busy kneecapping its own players to pay attention to how it’s being rolled.  Amateur hour is over.  We in the rest of the country, particularly the unemployed, do not have the luxury of 14 more months of this incompetence.  Our COBRA payments are going to suck 50% of our unemployment checks and our kids still need to be fed and educated.  And it’s incredibly heartless the way you have overlooked the plight of families who have been broken up by distance or have lost their houses when a wage earner has lost his or her job.

I’m disappointed.  I was hoping you would rally and make this jobs bill greater than the sum of its parts.  Instead, you seem determined to save your own asses first.  We care very much whether a jobs bill passes this year, don’t underestimate its importance, but what we really want to see is some kind of spirited effort on your part to challenge the Republican message machine.  As a commenter on another blog said yesterday, “If I want to vote Republican, I’d rather do it directly”. Your efforts to accommodate the Right Wing Noise Machine is never going to be enough for them.  Know why?  Because you’re Democrats.  No matter how much you come over to their side, they are still going to hate you and take great delight in making your life miserable and your attempts to get things done come to nothing.  They want a one party system and they are perilously close to getting one.

Maybe you guys need therapy.  You’ve been shouldering the guilt so long that you’ve lost perspective.  These problems are not insurmountable.  It will not be a catastrophe if you lose your seat.  What will be catastrophic is if you don’t put your collective heads together and put together a bill to end all bills.  If you’re so convinced you’re going to lose the argument anyway, why not go big?  Add health care provisions to it, reform the patent system in an unexpected way that encourages long term investment to save our jobs, crack down on visas, create a pharmaceutical company to discover therapeutic areas abandoned by the big guys.  Challenge these bastards.  If they tell you government can’t create jobs, give them a “Oh, yeah?  Says who?”.  Stop handing over our social safety net to stop the beatings.  TAKE the beatings and stand up and keep on going.  It matters that a bill pass but not if it’s so watered down that its effects are negligible.  Much more important is that we actually see you fighting for the right things even if you fail.

Don’t let us down.  Turn off the TV monitors.  They’re only going to distract and discourage you.  Besides, it’s not your job to make Fox News happy.  That’s impossible anyway. Your job is to pull the country back up and put it on its feet.  Shut every other distraction out and focus solely on that.

Do it this way:

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