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Problematic Prudence Predicted Four Years Ago

Four years ago this month, our sister site That’s My Congress predicted the unraveling of the Democratic control of Congress, even at the height of the Democrats’ return to power:

“I read in the New York Times today that a variety of American corporations, figuring out that the Democratic Party will become the majority in the House and quite possibly the Senate, are pouring loads of campaign cash into Democratic coffers.

Soon after the election, expect a Democratic agenda to be articulated which will be associated with the use of words like ‘pragmatic,’ ‘prudent’ and ‘practical.’ Not mentioned will be for whom Democratic policies will be pragmatic, prudent and practical — because to mention the benefit of corporate benefactors would itself be unpragmatic, imprudent and impractical to Democratic Party politicians.”

Over the last four years, we’ve been told that

– Prosecuting the Bush Administration for its war crimes would not be pragmatic
– Single payer health care would not be practical
– Passing climate legislation would not be prudent
– Ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would not be prudent
– Withholding committee chairmanship from Joseph Lieberman would not be pragmatic
– Revealing photographs of torture would not be prudent
– Closing Guantanamo would bot be practical
– Giving equal rights to heterosexuals and homosexuals alike would not be practical
– Passing card check legislation for labor unions would not be pragmatic
– Ending the expansion of offshore drilling would not be pragmatic
– Ceasing the Unitary Executive powers of the President set up under George W. Bush would not be prudent
– Reforming the White House Office of Faith Based Initiatives would not be pragmatic
– Enforcing the Endangered Species Act would be impractical
– Ending government spying on Americans’ private communications would not be prudent

Some of the prudence, pragmatism and practicality of the Democratic Party has been calculated to serve corporations, and some has been calculated to promote the short term advantage of the Democratic Party itself. In the congressional elections of 2008, however, the Democratic Party appears to have imprudently painted itself into a corner. Being pragmatic hasn’t appeased the Republican Party one bit. Will the Democrats learn the lesson for 2012 that abandoning its progressive principles doesn’t work? That’s practically impossible.

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