Thursday, November 18, 2021

Ted Rall: The Democratic Centrist-Progressive Alliance Hinges Upon Build Back Better

 "At a certain point, we have to trust one another," Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vermont, said Nov. 5 as he left a meeting of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Progressives had just acquiesced to President Joe Biden's pleas that left-leaning House members sign off on the $1 trillion infrastructure spending bill they'd been holding up in order to pressure the chamber's centrists to support their own $1.75 trillion package of social programs.

The progressive bloc extracted a written promise from five key centrists to vote for the Build Back Better bill, assuming that the Congressional Budget Office verifies the math behind the spending.

The question grassroots progressives are asking themselves is: Is trust wise? Will the corporatists deliver? Or are we just rubes who are about to get rolled again? 

The immediate electoral viability of the Democratic Party depends on the answer.

Progressive voters and activists who form the ideological base of the party and provide most of its energy believe they have long been taken for granted by the Democrats' dominant, minority, corporatist ruling elite. Their long-simmering resentments boiled into explosive rage after the insulting and, they believe, corrupt manner Bernie Sanders and his supporters were treated by the Democratic National Convention and its blackout-enforcing media allies throughout his 2016 primary challenge to Hillary Clinton and during the DNC. 

Clinton's campaign openly courted anti-Trump Republicans in the general election campaign, telling progressive Democrats she didn't need them to win. Millions of them took her at her word, sitting on their hands on Election Day, handing the presidency to Donald Trump.

Then the defeated centrists had the nerve to blame progressives for not voting.

Incited by anti-Trump fever, left populists turned out for Biden in 2020. But they did so reluctantly, doubly so after that year's primary process featured yet another overt DNC operation to derail Sanders. The Vermont senator's early primary surge crashed the night before Super Tuesday, when sleazy Southern party boss James Clyburn orchestrated simultaneous endorsements of Biden by former rivals Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Beto O'Rourke, an establishment favorite who entered late after being recruited by DNC insiders in order to stop Sanders.

Biden ran as the anti-Trump -- nothing more. He didn't campaign on -- and therefore can't claim a mandate for -- ambitious infrastructure and social spending measures, which were only conceived after taking office in order to heal his rift with his party's progressive wing. As anyone who has been near a news source over the last six months knows, the president has had a difficult time convincing right-leaning Democrats like Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia to play ball. Separating the spending packages into the relatively easy-to-pass infrastructure and the challenging social program bills is an inelegant, consummately inside-the-Beltway solution that may be about to blow up in the Democrats' faces.

The White House promises that Build Back Better is 100% revenue-neutral and therefore won't increase the deficit. The five moderate holdouts who signed the House letter say their support is contingent on the CBO confirming that claim. But the CBO already determined that the infrastructure bill by itself would increase the deficit by $256 billion. One of the more generous assessments of Build Back Better, by Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman, found that it would add $100 billion to the Treasury. That still leaves an overall shortfall big enough for the five congressmen to back out of.

Assuming it survives, Build Back Better goes to the Senate, where the infamous parliamentarian will rule on what bits and pieces of legislation are permitted in the reconciliation process. Will progressives still be happy with what's left? Will Manchin and Sinema drop their long-standing objections?

Then, assuming it gets through the Senate, which seems like a long shot at this point, changes have to be reconciled between the House and Senate versions.

Progressives aren't going to be happy unless the lion's share of what's currently in Build Back Better gets signed into law by Biden. If the results are significantly watered-down or, still worse, nonexistent, hell has no wrath to compare with the rage of progressives who have long had it with the Democratic Party. 

Their sense of betrayal will be boundless. They will be furious at themselves for having been so gullible as to have trusted the perfidious centrists who repeatedly screwed them over. And enough of them will be anywhere but at the polls on Election Days 2022 and 2024 to make all the difference.

Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of a new graphic novel about a journalist gone bad, "The Stringer." Order one today. You can support Ted's hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.



Anonymous said...

Bend over. Your taxes are going up.

Anonymous said...

Seems it's isn't just Uncle Joe that would be our downfall. New evidence show that Donald signed off on the bio-weapon that they call a vaccine. KNOWINGLY. The elites have spoken folks ! Your life is worthless and not even your own ! The NWO that so many of you called "tinfoil hat" is taking hold and WE THE PEOPLE can do nothing to stop it. We have one last chance but you must ignore the everyday distractions you are being fed and focus on FREEDOM.

Anonymous said...

We must keep in mind that the true "progressives' really don't care about things like deficits and majorities/minorities. They only care about their elastic principles which are constantly evolving. Social theory not economic fact is their guiding light so it makes no difference what the CBO or the economy itself does in reaction to their cosmic plans. If they are wrong... well they can't be wrong because their intentions are soooo good. The day may come when both political parties announce their true allegiance to the loudmouths on the fringes and a common sense party emerges to save what's left of this country. I hope so.

Anonymous said...

At 9:59, I do believe those ole nasty "CHEMTRAILS" the NWO is spraying, is turning 2 of your 3 grey cells to mush!

California wants you.

Anonymous said...


New evidence? Trump calls himself “father of the vaccine” on national television. Does “Operation Warp Speed” ring a bell? I agree with what you’re saying, but we don’t need new evidence to tell us that.

At first I thought Trump was using the vaccine as a weapon against the lock downs last year and maybe a lot of the doses were placebo, but he’s STILL pushing the jab! We’ll, at least he’s against mandates.

The sad reality is most Republicans are spineless cowards at best and treasonous at worst. I’ll never vote Dem, but at least they are upfront about their war against white America. No politicians are going to save us and our military only works for a tiny nation in the Middle East.

Anonymous said...

11:35 : There you are. You may review the evidence yourself. It's on file in the D.C. office if Dr. Martin makes you feel bad.. Truth hurts ? Maybe you need Cali a bit more than me.

Anonymous said...

11:54 : We didn't have a paper trial for Fauci at that point. I knew from the get go that vavvines don't get made in a year and that something stunk. And for the record...I DID NOT VOTE for Trump. I wrote in Rand Paul twice which i'm now embarrassed by. Seeing as he is also grandstanding while holding proof of these crimes.

Anonymous said...

@ 12:43 : I hear you on Rand Paul. He was making it sound so good! I get so tired of this puppet theater for the dumbed down masses. There’s only one party in DC and they have that good cop bad cop charade down to a T. I think the reason I can tell a lot of it is scripted is because I grew up watching Rastlin when I was a kid. The way politicians talk to each other on camera isn’t much different than how wrestlers talk to each other. However, I don’t think I’ll ever know if Trump forced his way into the club or it was all in the script.

Anonymous said...

11:54 AM
Yes. THe CBO report[1] (which isn't the complete CBO report).

TL;DR: Per the CBO, the BBB Act will increase the deficit by $160B over 10 years after including the estimated $207B that increased enforcement funds at the IRS would generate. This bill will not be the final version as some parts of the bill may not be compliant with the Byrd rule, and others are opposed by some members of the Senate. It will be interesting to see how long it will take the Senate to finalize their changes to the bill, but at the rate things have been going, this bill may not reach Biden's desk until 2022.

[1] -

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS