Monday, September 3, 2012

Just for the record

I'm really tired of hearing this, and I hear it from both Democrats and Republicans. As Benen describes it:
The stimulus wasn't big enough? Blame Dems; they had supermajorities in both chambers for two years. There's no comprehensive immigration reform? Blame Dems; they had supermajorities in both chambers for two years. There was only one big jobs bill? Blame Dems; they had supermajorities in both chambers for two years. And so on.
Please folks, it wasn't that long ago. They had a super majority for four months, not two years. Given that, I think they did pretty damn good to get access to healthcare for 40 million Americans passed - health reform that both Democrats and Republicans have promised and failed to produce since fucking Truman. And a stimulus bill that didn't magically fix the economy but it worked a hell of a lot better than the austerity measures demanded by the Republicans. Here's how that works:

See the green line. That's how the Democrat's way - the stimulus, worked for us. See the blue line, that's how the Republican's way - drastically cut spending - worked for Europe. So we didn't get single payer on the health care reform. Unemployment is still too high. True. However, not bad I think for four months. Which was all they had, to tackle the two biggest domestic problems in my lifetime.

Reminder. Here's why the Democrats had a filibuster proof majority - which was necessary to get anything at all passed since the Republicans filibustered everything the Democrats proposed - for only four months. Thanks, Steve, for laying it out so clearly.
In January 2009, there were 56 Senate Democrats and two independents who caucused with Democrats. This combined total of 58 included Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), whose health was failing and was unable to serve. As a practical matter, in the early months of Obama's presidency, the Senate Democratic caucus had 57 members on the floor for day-to-day legislating.

In April 2009, Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter switched parties. This meant there were 57 Democrats, and two independents who caucused with Democrats, for a caucus of 59. But with Kennedy ailing, there were still "only" 58 Democratic caucus members in the chamber.

In May 2009, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) was hospitalized, bringing the number of Senate Dems in the chamber down to 57.

In July 2009, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) was finally seated after a lengthy recount/legal fight. At that point, the Democratic caucus reached 60, but two of its members, Kennedy and Byrd, were unavailable for votes.

In August 2009, Kennedy died, and Democratic caucus again stood at 59.

In September 2009, Sen. Paul Kirk (D-Mass.) filled Kennedy's vacancy, bringing the caucus back to 60, though Byrd's health continued to deteriorate.

In January 2010, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) replaced Kirk, bringing the Democratic caucus back to 59 again.

In June 2010, Byrd died, and the Democratic caucus fell to 58, where it stood until the midterms.

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