The season is officially open here in Delaware now that we have Senator Coons in front of every TV camera possible dismissing the votes of some of his colleagues as posturing for a 2020 Presidential run. You can see this in the two clips I posted below. No recognition of the real crisis here — 800K young people whose futures are up in the air while the Senator is busily punching progressives. There is some recognition that 4 months after the close of the government fiscal year, that there is not a budget — which means that the entire government is operating on hold.
Senator Coons wants you to know that yesterday’s victory was in getting back to bipartisanship. Even though those of us who follow these things know that Mitch McConnell’s word isn’t good for much. Senator Coons wants you to know that if you are fully committed to the Dreamers and a solution for them, that you are probably running for President and not working on today’s problems. Which is DACA, that runs out in early March. Senator Coons wants you to know that if you are a Senator who represents a great many Dreamers (Harris, Booker, Gillibrand) that you are just running to the left, rather than showing up to represent your constituents. As if the civil rights issue of our time (thank you Senator Durbin) is just too far to the left. 55 years ago, Senator Coons would have been one of the folks Martin Luther King was writing his Letter from a Birmingham Jail to. Think about that for a minute.
Progressives are working on solving problems NOW. March 5 is coming up quickly and that timeline is the same whether or not any other Senators are running for President. People are going to want to vote for people who not only solve problems, but do so in line with Democratic Party values. None of our values are on display in either of these interviews — disrespecting all of the work that progressives and others have done to push for a DACA solution. We’re all just supposed to shut up and go away because the bipartisan adults are here.
Senator Coons provides several markers that we can judge this new effort by:
- Funding of Community Health Centers
- Disaster relief funding including Puerto Rico
- Funding for the opioid crisis
- Addressing DACA and border security
Scarborough wants the CHIP funding to be the win. When it is really just one hostage released. The four bullets above are the other hostages. And getting these well taken care of (especially a path to citizenship for the DACA participants) is going to be how we judge this new deal that is supposed to be done in 3 weeks. Even though they’ve had months to do this. Even though McConnell is a demonstrated unreliable actor. And even though the Freedom Caucus can kill it all. A thing progressives cannot do, but all of the condescension is directed to the least powerful people in this entire equation.
I appreciated Senator Durbin’s comments from the Senate floor yesterday after the vote to break the filibuster. He acknowledged the stakes and promised to keep working towards them. He highlighted the bipartisan nature of this deal and his understanding of where everyone was coming from made me think that there might be some hope. He did not dismiss any of the concerns or work or hopes of everyone who pushed for a DACA deal. He insulted no progressives. He did not dismiss anyone whose lives are on the balance waiting for March 5. I had hope because he left me with the idea that he was still fighting for us.