November 9, 2012 § Leave a comment
I think this sequester negotiation is all about Grover Norquist. The GOP members of Congress know that if they agree to any tax increase, they will face a well-financed primary challenge in the mid-term elections.
I also think this is a perfect opportunity to destroy Norquist and his power structure. The Democratic Party needs sane Republicans, liberated from their forced allegiance to Norquist and his corporate supporters. Progressives and sane Republicans should join forces and agree that, if a GOP congressman/woman faces a primary opponent; and if he or she is from a district in which there is no plausible chance of a Democrat being elected in November; the Democrats agree to recruit no general election opponent; and (here’s the hard part) the Democrats agree to support the GOP candidate who is facing opposition because of his or her vote to ignore the Norquist pledge.
There would have to be some limits on this promise: No racism and no stupid rape statements. We would have to grant a pass for “pro life” and same sex marriage nonsense. Also, in counties with multiple congressional districts, this would be a problem because by voting in the GOP primary, we would not be able to vote in the Democratic primary. Without having researched the issue, however, I suspect that there are some safe GOP congressional districts where this might not be a problem. (rural southern counties?)
If it worked, Norquist’s vise on Congressional sanity would be broken.
The Democrats would have to educate the rank and file in the affected districts so they would understand why this would be important. That would be difficult and would require some guts and brains, but it can be done.
In 1961, some of us engaged in this kind of maneuver in Texas. We supported and voted for John Tower in a special election for US Senate because we reasoned that, if the GOP in Texas could elect someone, they would leave the Democratic Party and enable us to elect a liberal. Well, you may say: “How did that work out for you?” Not very well, I’ll admit, but I still think we were right. Supervening events spoiled our plans.
The next year, 1962, Don Yarborough, a political newcomer, who ran as a pro-civil rights liberal Democrat, lost to John Connally, President Lyndon Johnson’s bosom crony, by about 25,000 votes, a small margin due to the split of conservative voters between the Democratic and Republican parties. There was every indication that this split would increase and that, in 1964, Don Yarborough would win the Democratic Party Primary and have an excellent chance to be elected in November.
We did not anticipate the assassination of JFK and the transformation of Connally into a wounded hero, in November, 1963. If that had not happened, I believe Don Yarborough would have been elected Governor of Texas. He would have used the appointment power of that office to establish a Democratic Party machine in Texas that would still be in charge of this state.
And the incessantly repeated whine, “Well, Texas is a conservative state.'” would have been exposed for the nonsense it is.
The first step in the process of destroying Norquist is to hold out for increased taxes on wealthy Americans and convince the GOP we are not bluffing. I think they will blink first, but only if we offer some solace to the Congressmen/women who face the loss of their jobs to Norquist’s blackmail. I think somebody should be talking about this. In this age of twitter, Facebook and blogs, secrecy is impossible.
I realize that, by posting this, I am probably convincing many of my friends that I have, at last, lost the last of my marbles. Could be, but I can’t think of any other way of restoring some sanity to the GOP and, although I am a Democrat, I do not believe that we can successfully govern without a sane GOP.