The inability of the Senate to pass the Defense Appropriations Bill should NOT be the end of DADT. Today’s vote should be shot the fired at Lexington and Concord; the long anticipated signal that it’s time to enact the battle plan. Of course we don’t have a battle, but we should. And I think David will agree with me it starts with keeping both the House and Senate in session, from now until the Republicans take over in January if necessary, Christmas be damned.
Of course in our (wishful thinking) Democratic battle plan, Christmas is our friend. The information war we should be letting loose right now should be centered around the concept of: Republicans are Grinches stealing from you. Every elected Democrat needs to use their hometown contacts to be on their local news with the same message; “I’m fighting for you. Help me. This is how…….” And the how better well not be about a contribution.
Today’s DADT vote and the tax standoff needs to be a call to Battle Stations. This needs to be a genuine session, not a technical process with one or two members present, like they do to keep recess appointments from being made. A third of Dems should be present at all times. Another third should be carrying out the relentless media attack. The other third should be sleeping, so this battle doesn’t falter over the long haul. If the Republicans should, for an instant, abandon the Floor, Democrats should immediately introduce the Defense Bill, and the Tax Bill, any other domestic legislation popular with the public at large, and ask for a unanimous consent to pass it. With no Republicans there to object, suggest the absence of a quorum, or call for the yeas and nays, the bill gets through on the loud cry of the Democrats present. Of course the probability is the Republicans will keep one sleepy member in each body despite the surprise attack. Call their bluff. Make them stand and filibuster.
If we had a battle plan, while Republicans rally to ramble on and on, they will find Congress is not the only front in his War To Enact The People’s Wishes. The White House, the Second Front, would also spring into action. They would enact the ”Bully Pulpit Offensive”, with stops in the states, and districts of recalcitrant Republicans, with photo ops at places like Church Christmas Parties for poor children, and the Marines Toys for Tots pick up locations, where people who will lose their unemployment benefits are found in great numbers.
While Congress is battling, and President Obama is traveling, Robert Gibbs and his deputies would open their own front. Every two hours they would appear in the briefing room to report on the progress of Congress, keeping the media awake, and looking for a new story. Names would be named. Intemperate floor speeches would be quoted with an eye to the sympathetic sound bite.
If we had a well-prepared battle plan Michelle Obama would be hosting events with military families worried that Congress refused to pass the Defense Bill. And with the families of fallen gay soldiers. Or the families of soldiers saved by a gay compatriot. Bill Clinton would be out “feeling the pain” of regular Americans, talking to poor folk who have lost their jobs, and rich folk who don’t want the tax cut if it means adding to the deficit. Al Franken should be on Leno and Anthony Weiner should be doing The Daily Show, all with the same message: Republicans are Grinches at Christmas.
If we had a real battle plan, the DCC would break its tradition of spending all its money on election ads and air 15 second TV issue ads: “Republicans won’t fund our troops. Tune to C-SPAN and see for yourself”. “Republicans think you don’t need unemployment benefits. Call Mitch McConnell and tell him what you think.” Every Democrat would have a video ad on his homepage and his Facebook Page, and would be tweeting his heart out.
If we had a battle plan, Democrat staffers would long ago have been asked to find actual families affected, and their names would be leaked so that local TV would air their stories. The Move Ons of the world would have been consulted to have their ad campaign ready. The pundits would have their mission.
But of course, there is no battle plan to be dusted off. There is hand wringing and recrimination and finger pointing. There will be no real fight. No surprise attack. No selfless sacrifice of the Christmas holiday for the love of America and Americans.
Buy stock in white flags. The Democrats will make you rich.