Thursday, March 10, 2005

House New Dems Sell Out on Bankruptcy

Apparently the House New Democrat Coalition supports passage of the extraordinarily bad bankruptcy bill. Leaving aside any policy evaluation, however, the politics of this escapes me (as it does Noam Scheiber). What Democratic constituency - or group of swing voters, for that matter, would find this bill attractive? Furthermore, what Democratic principle does this bill possibly embrace? If Democrats don't defend working and middle class people, particularly those who are facing bankruptcy as a result of medical expenses (which account for half of personal bankruptcies according to a recent study by Harvard researchers), who do they stand for? This certainly doesn't seem like the way to convey the "values" that New Democrats are always accusing the rest of the party of ignoring.

Scheiber - a centrist himself - calls this a "colossal, inexcusable mistake" and says, "The political imagery here so obviously benefits anyone who'd oppose the bill you're left to conclude that the only way a congressman could possibly support it is through a craven and reflexive willingness to do the bidding of big business" [i.e., credit card companies].

If New Democrats want to prove their bona fides as moderates, why not split the difference and push for a provision exempting medical bankruptcies? No wonder liberals are fond of referring to the DLC (or Democratic Leadership Council, the New Dems' parent organization) as "Democrats for the Leisure Class."

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