Progressives in Revolt

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 31 2011 3:59 PM

Progressives in Revolt

It's happening again. The tweaks to the debt deal have inspired Rep. Raul Grivalja, D-Ariz., to issue a remarkably bitter epistle against it, speaking on behalf of the House Progressive Caucus. (Sam Stein reports that they're meeting tomorrow.)

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.

Republicans have succeeded in imposing their vision of a country without real economic hope. Their message has no public appeal, and Democrats have had every opportunity to stand firm in the face of their irrational demands. Progressives have been rallying support for the successful government programs that have meant health and economic security to generations of our people. Today we, and everyone we have worked to speak for and fight for, were thrown under the bus. We have made our bottom line clear for months: a final deal must strike a balance between cuts and revenue, and must not put all the burden on the working people of this country. This deal fails those tests and many more.
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He has a point! The new deal gives Republicans another bite at a balanced budget amendment -- popular -- but yet another chance to cut entitlements -- unpopular.

The Democratic Party, no less than the Republican Party, is at a very serious crossroads at this moment. For decades Democrats have stood for a capable, meaningful government – a government that works for the people, not just the powerful, and that represents everyone fairly and equally. This deal weakens the Democratic Party as badly as it weakens the country. We have given much and received nothing in return. The lesson today is that Republicans can hold their breath long enough to get what they want. While I believe the country will not reward them for this in the long run, the damage has already been done.

This is what I was getting at yesterday. Democrats lose a lot under the strict form of the committee.

A clean debt ceiling vote was the obvious way out of this, and many House Democrats have been saying so. Had that vote failed, the president should have exercised his Fourteenth Amendment responsibilities and ended this manufactured crisis.
This deal is a cure as bad as the disease. I reject it, and the American people reject it.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.