The Democrats are high with relief after the primaries, celebrating a far better than expected election night, but the bar on LGBT rights bills remains high as well.
They seem to forget why they get elected in the first place, still cowering timidly after victory.
Speaking in CQ Politics today, Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (Md.) cautioned that leaders should not over-read the Critz victory as a sign they can keep forcing moderates into "tough votes, such as passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act or repealing the 'don't ask, don't tell' law before the Pentagon is onboard."
"I really have an issue with discrimination, but we have to look at the politics of it," he said. "You are not going to be able to go forward with your agenda if you're not in the majority."
Excuse me, Representative Ruppersberger, but you have been in the majority for the past two years, and have done nothing with the power you were granted to help millions of LGBT workers suffering under high unemployment and underemployment, harassment and forced closeting.
The Democrats seem to forget why they won the 2008 elections in the first place. They want power, but not to use it for the good of LGBT voters, or Hispanics, or people who care about the environment. What then, is the use of giving the Democratic Party power, if the base is always given short shrift? Will the Democratic Party's desire to retain power suddenly abate after November?
Speaking in The Hill newspaper yesterday evening, Speaker Pelosi again vowed to end DADT, and said that ENDA has a good chance of victory in the House.
The article indicates that ENDA has a better chance of passage, with 202 co-sponsors, than the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," with only 192 cosponsors. While these numbers are both are short of the 217 needed for passage, there will likely be many Representatives who, while not co-sponsoring, will vote in favor of the bills. Based on information from various public sources, ENDA has 224 likely yes votes, with probably another 12 unconfirmed Representatives or so who will vote yes.
The word from DC before the primaries was that Democrats must be cautious about LGBT rights because of the possibility that the November mid-terms will cost many Democratic seats in Congress. Now we have a great primary election night, and what's the word from DC? Does this empower Democrats to fulfill their party platform? No, it apparently scares them further, perhaps because the taste of victory is so much nearer.
This is the triumph of power over good.
I do not understand this reasoning.
If the Democrats are going to lose control of Congress, now is the time to free millions of LGBT Americans from the scourge of discrimination.
If, however, Democrats want to de-energize their base and make them want to stay home in November, there is no better way than to act timidly when they have been entrusted with a mandate to govern. Throwing gays, Hispanics, and environmentalists overboard by refusing to grapple with civil rights, immigration and climate issues is not a recipe for winning in the November.
It is a recipe for disaster.
The People voted for the Democratic Party because they want the Democratic Party platform put into action. They did not vote for Republicans-lite.
If the Democrats, now high on the results of Tuesday evening's primaries, think that they can get away with as little as possible, they are making a very grave mistake that will come to haunt them in November.
Enjoy your party, Democrats. I'm happy for us too. But pride cometh before a downfall.