Democrats Get Ready to Shoot Selves in Foot

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Greg Sargent rounds up reaction to the possibility that “moderate” Senate Democrats will sink Obama’s jobs bill:

Obama has done what skittish Senate Dems and their aides asked him to do — he has waged a public campaign to build support for his proposals. Have we already forgotten that only a few short months ago, the papers were filled with quotes from anonymous Dems complaining that Obama had failed to (a) focus on jobs; and (b) use the bully pulpit to rally public support for job-creation proposals?

By any measure, Obama has addressed those complaints. As ABC News polling director Gary Langer put it the other day, Obama proved that “it’s possible to move the bar” when it comes to public opinion on jobs. And yet, now that Dems have finally made that pivot to jobs and are finally fighting it out on turf favorable to themselves; now that Obama has shown it’s possible to move public opinion in the direction of his proposals, despite his low approval numbers; and now that Obama and Dem leaders are hoping to use GOP opposition to the jobs bill to cast the GOP as the number one enemy of progress on the economy, a handful of moderate Dems are still prepared to help Republicans muddy those waters.

It is truly astonishing. Finally, Democrats have a chance to demonstrate a sharp, clear, popular difference with Republicans, and even then they can’t manage to stand together and look like an actual governing party. What’s more, this is basically the centrists’ dream bill: stimulus now and deficit cutting in the long term. It’s what all the folks yelling for a third party say they want. And Democrats are offering it up. 

This is one of the reasons, by the way, that I’ve never really been on board with the idea that Obama should have fought hard for lots of liberal policies even if they couldn’t pass. “At least people would know where he stands,” goes the mantra. But looking like a loser just isn’t a good political strategy, and looking like you can’t even control your own party, as such a strategy would inevitably highlight, is even worse. Even on a purely symbolic bill (since the House isn’t going to pass it anyway), Democrats can’t manage to get their act together. What a bunch of morons.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest