Thursday, January 3, 2013

Political Theater



Michael Bennet made news this week.  He is a United States Senator from Colorado and the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSSC).

On the first day of 2013, the U. S. Senate held an early-morning vote over the issue of how much to “tax the rich.”  Senator Bennet ended up voting against the position favored by his party.

It created such a stir that Maureen Dowd devoted a column to it.  How could a Democrat (gasp!) break ranks?  What is going on here?

Pull up a seat.  We have the rare opportunity to watch the calculated political transmogrification of Michael Bennet.

Here is Michael Bennet writing for the DSSC in April of 2012:

First right-wing extremists took aim at women's healthcare. Now, they're trying to double interest rates on millions of student loans.

And thanks to the Citizens United ruling, Karl Rove and the Koch brothers will try to make this radical agenda law by defeating President Obama and taking over the Senate with nearly unlimited cash.

Our side's different -- 97% of our support comes from grassroots donations. It's you vs. the Rove and Koch attack machine.

That could be considered “us vs. them” rhetoric.  (In fairness, it is the expected tone of the DSCC.)

Here is Senator Bennet just eight months later (as quoted in The Denver Post):

The notion that we are raising taxes and not in any meaningful way to deal with the deficit, I don't think that makes sense to Colorado.
What I think is that it's important that you ... voted your conscience, and you did it on behalf of the future of our state. I think people will understand that.


This might be considered “trying to do the right thing for Colorado” rhetoric.

Senator Bennet is telling us he awoke on the last day of 2012 and suddenly felt the need to vote his conscience.  (This revelation from the Chairman of the DSCC, whose sole task is to strengthen the power and authority of the Democratic Party in the U. S. Senate.)

The Denver Post characterizes his action as “intrepid.”  Maureen Dowd describes him as “the future of his party.”

A Colorado Senator casts a symbolic vote in a legislative action whose outcome is pre-determined through secret negotiations between party leaders.

Our culture is awestruck by his “courageous act of conscience.”


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