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Bullying Congressional Progressives: Creepy, Revealing Quote from White House Staffer

Jane Hamsher details the extremely aggressive tactics the White House and House leadership used to coerce liberal environmentalist members to vote for the cap-and-trade bill despite their belief that it helped polluters more than it did anything else (and remember their ability to do that the next time they claim that a bill they ostensibly support simply couldn't pass because it lacked the necessary votes).  Jane quotes from a Politico article reporting on White House anger towards Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett, due to an impassioned floor speech he gave arguing that the bill was so industry-friendly that it would do more harm than good.  That article contains this quote:

The White House is smoking mad at Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), who says he's voting against the climate bill - despite the lobbying of the entire First Family in the Oval Office last night.

If the bill goes down, Obama won't forget Doggett's role, Democrats say.

It's "stunning that he would ignore the wishes not just of his president, but of his constituents and the country," said an administration official.

This has been a emerging theme among both the White House and House leadership:  that members of Congress have an obligation to carry out "the wishes of the President" (now, apparently, it's "stunning" when they defy his dictates).  That was the same subservient mentality that led House Democrats who admitted they opposed the war supplemental spending and/or the foreign bank bailout to nonetheless vote for the bill:  because they President favored it.  The duty of Congress is not to obey the wishes of the President. 

Note, too, that the sort of bullying tactics that were used for the war supplemental bill and now for the cap-and-trade bill are only directed towards the House progressives who want legislation to be less beholden to corporate donors; those tactics are never invoked against Blue Dogs who play a vital role in impeding progressive legislation and thus supply the perfect excuse for Democratic leaders as to why such legislation does not pass (let's see if these tactics are used against Blue Dogs who impede a public option for health care, the repeal of DOMA and Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and various issues relating to the closing of Guantanamo.  Will we hear condemnations from Rahm Emanuel's underlings about how stunning and outrageous it is that they are defying the wishes of the President?


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Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, constitutional lawyer, commentator, author of three New York Times best-selling books on politics and law, and a staff writer and editor at First Look media. His fifth and latest book is, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, about the U.S. surveillance state and his experiences reporting on the Snowden documents around the world. Prior to his collaboration with Pierre Omidyar, Glenn’s column was featured at Guardian US and Salon.  His previous books include: With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the PowerfulGreat American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican PoliticsA Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency, and How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a President Run Amok. He is the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism, a George Polk Award, and was on The Guardian team that won the Pulitzer Prize for public interest journalism in 2014.

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