On the eighth of March, 2005 the Bankruptcy Bill was still in the Senate. But the New Democrat Coalition wanted to get out in front of the issue and expedite the legislation in the House. So they wrote a stern letter to then Speaker Dennis Hastert and put together a press release to declare their, "intention to work across the aisle to pass bankruptcy reform into law." The entire press release and letter (with NDC Chair Ellen Tauscher in the Hancock position), were posted online by The New Republic under the headline For Shame. TNR's web response stated in part:
This magazine and multiple other opinion outlets on the center-left have written at length about how the bill in question is a truly contemptible piece of legislation. Worse, there is no plausible political rationale for supporting it other than to appease credit card companies.
Appease the credit card companies they did. The NDC move helped pass the bill, which made MNBA such a valuable commodity that it was bought up by Bank of America. Surprising nobody, least of all NDC members, BOA earnings are up an astonishing 47%
The legislation was truly contemptible and the politics were even worse. Not only did Tauscher sell out, but she triangulated against any Democrat opposing the bill as being out of the mainstream. Here is the second paragraph of NDC's press release:
"I'm pleased to see so many New Democrats band together in calling for a mainstream solution to bankruptcy reform. I hope Speaker Hastert will heed our calls and move promptly to bring this legislation to the floor soon," said Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher.
So if anyone says contempt for Tauscher is simply a debate about Rubinomics, they are wrong. This is a problem with a safe Democratic Party seat being wasted on somebody willing to sell out and let the powerful get richer through legislation.
And the days of the Democratic Party screwing over people so corporations get richer are long over.
Last night Jim Webb gave an amazing response to George Bush's State of the Union. At CMR, Sherry Greenberg explained the significance by noting, "Webb echoed the themes that won it for us in November -- the failed folly of Iraq and populism." Indeed, Democrats have finally found success by doing the exact opposite of the DLC and NDC.
Tauscher's problem is that Webb could have been talking about just as much about her as the President when it came to economic policy:
When I graduated from college, the average corporate CEO made 20 times what the average worker did; today, it's nearly 400 times. In other words, it takes the average worker more than a year to make the money that his or her boss makes in one day.
Wages and salaries for our workers are at all-time lows as a percentage of national wealth, even though the productivity of American workers is the highest in the world. Medical costs have skyrocketed. College tuition rates are off the charts. Our manufacturing base is being dismantled and sent overseas. Good American jobs are being sent along with them.
In short, the middle class of this country, our historic backbone and our best hope for a strong society in the future, is losing its place at the table. Our workers know this, through painful experience. Our white-collar professionals are beginning to understand it, as their jobs start disappearing also. And they expect, rightly, that in this age of globalization, their government has a duty to insist that their concerns be dealt with fairly in the international marketplace.
In the early days of our republic, President Andrew Jackson established an important principle of American-style democracy - that we should measure the health of our society not at its apex, but at its base.
That is how politicians are measured too.
Something to think about with Tauscher having economic meetings with the White House.