Who Are These People?
Not all Democrats are alike, obviously. There are corporate Democrats and populist Democrats and ACLU Democrats and pro-military Democrats and many other permutations of Democrats. In fact, the party is so disparate that it's often philosophically incoherent. But there are such things as defining issues --- things so intrinsic to the shared values of a political party that being on the other side is an act of fundamental betrayal.
If a congressperson find finds him or herself voting against extending unemployment insurance during a severe economic crisis then I think they have hit a wall and should ask themselves (and their constituents should ask them) on what basis can they possibly define themselves as Democrats. In fact, I can't see on what basis they even call themselves human beings.
Here's the list of Democrats who voted "No" yesterday, via Howie:
John Adler (D-NJ)- still on autopilot
Brian Baird (D-WA)- willing to thumb his nose at voters since he's retiring
Melissa Bean (D-IL)- the Chamber of Commerce's go-to person inside the Democratic caucus
Marion Berry (Blue Dog-AR)
Bobby Bright (Blue Dog-AL)
Travis Childers (Blue Dog-MS)
Jim Cooper (Blue Dog-TN)
Joe Donnelly (Blue Dog-IN)
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (Blue Dog-SD)
Baron Hill (Blue Dog-IN)
Frank Kratovil (Blue Dog-MD)
Betsy Markey (Blue Dog-CO)
Jim Marshall (Blue Dog-GA)
Walt Minnick (Blue Dog-ID)- only Democrat, in a manner of speaking, endorsed by both the U.S. Chamber and the Tea Party
Glenn Nye (Blue Dog-VA)- still on autopilot like Adler
Heath Shuler (Blue Dog-NC)
I honestly can't see why I should care if any of these people keep their seats any more than I should care about your average teabagging wingnut Republican.
And it's not an excuse to say that their own district's unemployment rate is low. There are times when every representative must look beyond the parochial concerns of their own constituents and represent their party and the nation as a whole. This is one of them.
Update: There were, by the way, Blue Dogs in conservative districts who voted for the extension. There were even some Republicans.
Update II: Someone should ask these so-called Democrats if they agree with this outrageousness from the reprehensible piece of work who calls herself Marie Antoinette .... er, Sharron Angle (via Sargent):
What has happened is the system of entitlement has caused us to have a spoilage with our ability to go out and get a job...There are some jobs out there that are available. Because they have to enter at a lower grade and they cannot keep their unemployment, they have to make a choice now.
We're making them make a choice between unemployment benefits and going back to work and working up through the ranks of that job and actually building up a good wage again...
What we need to do is make that unemployment benefit go down, not just completely remove the safety net from them while they go out and go to work.
Her soul mate Rand Paul said the same thing the other day. I'm guessing Frank Luntz did some focus groups and found that this was their best argument for their scumbag policy.
Greg Sargent comments that the Dems caricature the Republicans as heartless on unemployment but Angle is offering what she thinks is a serious prescription. I don't think the two are mutually exclusive. It perfectly illustrates not only their heartlessness, but their rank elitism and utter ignorance about the way people actually live. According the Angle and Rand Paul, the quack millionaire, these unemployed need a little "tough love" and must be willing to completely start over and pick strawberries or work as dishwashers, regardless of their experience, education or age. And if they lose everything they have worked for, well that's the breaks. It's patently obvious that they don't give a damn about the individual pain they are prescribing so blithely and that they also have no idea what such prescriptions will do to the American economy as a whole.
In case you were wondering, the highest weekly benefit in Nevada is 362.00 a week.