|This presentation appears in the March 11, 2005 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Bring Back FDR's Democratic Party
by Debra Hanania Freeman
Debra Hanania Freeman is the spokeswoman for Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. She gave this speech to the Schiller Institute/ICLC conference on Feb. 20, in a panel with Jeffrey Steinberg and Harley Schlanger.
Steinberg: ... Many of you probably recall, that in September of last year, at the annual Labor Day conference, Debra Freeman, Harley Schlanger, and myself presented a political battlefield report, on the state of the Presidential election campaign, the state of affairs inside the Democratic Party. Since that conference, the U.S. political situation has gone through a number of rather dramaticI'd say revolutionarychanges. And this panel discussion this morning, is going to present you with an overview of those developments. The title of this session is "Bringing Back the Democratic Party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt."...
Freeman: Thank you and good morning to all of you.
As Jeff said, the last time that we met hereit's really, in some ways hard to imagine that it was less than six months ago. But, it was a Labor Day weekend conference. We had just come out of a very significant intervention in the Democratic Convention. And I just want to remind people what the situation was during the course of that convention. We went in there, with about 100 members of the LaRouche Youth Movement. And we met a Democratic Party that was in complete chaos. They had no platform to speak of. The convention itself got more boring as it proceeded. And it was without question the case, that the activity of the LaRouche movement, the singing of the youth, and most importantly, the saturation of the city of Boston with Lyn's Platform statement, really became the basis for any legitimate discussion that went on there.
Again, immediately following the nomination of John Kerry, Lyn announced the formation of the LaRouche PAC; he endorsed Kerry's campaign, which, for those of us who have been associated with Mr. LaRouche over the last decades, was an unprecedented move. It was particularly unprecedented, because at that time, Kerry wasn't doing very well. His campaign was somewhat without direction, he didn't have a clear message, and the Democratic Party simply was not in very good shape. But, Lyn made very clear that his endorsement was based, not so much on the positive qualities of Kerry, as it was on the fact that Kerry represented the only viable potential against something that was just incredibly dangerous, for our country and for the world.
But, Lyn also made very clear, that we would have to transform the Democratic Party and the Presidential campaign.
Shifting the Focus of the Kerry Campaign
Now, when we met here, over that Labor Day weekend, Kerry's campaign was as big a mess as it was immediately following Boston. But something promising had occurred: While we were meeting, there was a story that leaked in the national press, that we knew more details of at the time, that a shakeup had occurred inside the Kerry campaign. And that the people who were previously running his campaign, people who had been formerly associated with Sen. Edward Kennedy, were being moved out of positions of power, and that, in fact, former President Bill Clinton had intervened and had moved in a team of people who had been referred to as "Clintonistas." And that what we were going to see, was a very different campaign.
Now, I can tell you, from our perspective that that was a positive move, and it was positive for a number of reasons: But most importantly, was that Lyn has had a significant influence on the Clinton faction of the Democratic Party over the course of the decade. And we knew that, if in fact, it was Clintonistas running the Kerry campaignwell, it would be wishful thinking to assume that they were going to do exactly what Lyn said!but that Lyn's voice would be heard. It was also extremely important, because, although Kerry had been very open to us, and had probably performed best during the course of the New Hampshire primary campaign, it was also the case, that the Kennedy group inside the Kerry camp was giving us a very hard time.
Now, there were also complicating factors that occurred, during the course of our conference. One complicating factor, was that President Clinton was diagnosed with a heart condition that required surgery. That took him, a little bit, out of the fray. And that was unfortunate. But, the fact of the matter was, that we knew that he was in touch with Kerry; his people were in place; and we had a day-to-day role in Kerry's campaign.
It was an extremely difficult situation. And a lot of that difficulty was caused by Kerry himself, because, rather than doing what he should have done, which was to just move the Kennedy guys out of therebecause they were incompetent, at besthe kept them there. And anyone who visited Kerry's headquarters in Washington had the feeling that they were entering an armed camp. There was one group on one side and another group on the other side. And the debate over what the focus of the campaign would be, really never stopped. There were many people who thoughtlargely the Kennedy groupingwho felt very strongly that the message of the campaign should be an anti-war message.
Lyn intervened very forcefully, and made the point that the people who were against the war, were against the war! They didn't need any more convincing. And those people were likely to come out and vote. But, the problem that we had, was that we were entering a Presidential campaign with a Democratic Party that had been dormant for over five years. The Democrats that we knew, had never recovered from the atrocity of the Y2K Presidential election!
And it was really hard to tell the difference, between Democrats and Republicans. You still had a prevailing view, inside the Democratic Party, that minorities were an unreliable constituency, and that the people whom we had to focus on, were the same people whom Al Gore focussed on in the Y2K election. And, I remember being at an event where Terry McAuliffe spoke, and people challenged him, on what he planned on doing differently than had been done in the year 2000. And what he said was, in the year 2000, we really concentrated on Soccer Moms. And this time we're going to broaden the net. We're going to reach outto SUV Dads.
And I started to get a stomach acheas did many other people!
But, the whole question of not only how you win a campaign, but what it is that needed to be done in our country, and what had to be offered to the population, was the question on the table.
And the fact is, that Lyn intervened, and Lyn intervened powerfully. Immediately following the convention that we had here over Labor Day, Lyn issued two critical statements: One was "How to Campaign for Kerry," and the other was, "Had I Not Been Excluded." In those statements, Lyn made very clear that the issue on the table, was the issue of the U.S. economy. And that Kerry was going to have to transform his campaign and transform himself, and reach out to that vast portion of the U.S. population that, in fact, was not likely to vote. And Lyn continued the theme that he had developed at that ICLC Labor Day conference: That we had to go out there, and organize a landslide. That we weren't organizing for a "51% win" over Bush. That we had to mobilize the U.S. population, but that in order to do that, you had to give people something to come out for; and that the Democratic Party was going to have start acting like Democrats! That 80% of the U.S. population was unrepresented, and that it was a moral obligationnot simply a campaign tacticto represent them.
And that was what we did, during the course of the Presidential campaign, and we did not let up.
We didn't have the forces to intervene everywhere in the nation. We would have, if we had had the forcesbut we didn't. What we did, in coordination with like-minded people inside the Democratic Party, was to concentrate our efforts in key places, where we knew we could make a difference, and places that we knew were critical to the outcome of the election.
One place that became a showcase of our efforts, and the efforts of the LaRouche Youth Movement, was the state of Ohio. And it was indeed the case, that Ohio became the paradigm for the nature of the national campaign. We were not the only people organizing in Ohio, but there is no question, that we had the decisive influence in the state.
And not too long into the post-Labor Day campaign, the idea of organizing for a landslide began to catch on. But the reason that it began to catch on, was because our intervention on the ground, around the question of the U.S. economy and around the question of returning the Democratic Party to the principles of FDR, as Lyn defined themas Lyn uniquely defined themwas sufficient to inspire the people whom we were reaching out to, and the people that they were reaching out to.
We reissued Lyn's Democratic Platform, which had been previously been put out as a LaRouche in 2004 document; we reissued it as an LPAC document. Lyn commissioned a second pamphlet, which was called "It's Still the Economy, Stupid!" And that came out on Sept. 22. And we flooded the nation with this material. The LaRouche Youth would not compromise, on the key points of the campaign.
As we got close to the election, we knew that we had done our job. As for John Kerry? Well, sometimes he performed very well. And sometimes, he performed very poorly. He made mistakes. But, the one thing that we knew, was that both John Kerry and John Edwards had been very seriously affected, dramatically affected, by our mobilization. They alsoand I think that in a certain sense, this was more the case for Kerry, than it was for EdwardsKerry was genuinely affected by what he saw when he campaigned across the United States. John Kerry has been in the Senate for a long time; and he's rich, and he comes from Massachusetts. And, you put all that stuff togetherand I would have never said it during the Presidential campaign, but it was truehe didn't really have a sensuous view of what the condition of the U.S. population was. But, when he went out there and campaigned, he actually saw it. And because he's a decent person, he responded to it. And the fact of the matter is, that the John Kerry who went to the polls on Nov. 2, was not the same John Kerry whom we met at the convention just a couple of months earlier.
One of the things that had gone on in the period leading up to the election, in addition to the programmatic intervention that Lyn repeatedly made, is that Lyn, consistently, was trying to make clear to the people that we were working with, what they were up against. I think everybody remembers the effect of Justin Frank's book and Justin Frank's interviews. And Lyn repeatedly made the point that when you were looking at Bush and Cheney, that what you were looking at was a psychopath and a sociopath. And that that wasn't hyperbole: It was a clinical assessment of what we were dealing with! And that was important on two counts: One, is that people had to understand the existential nature of the need to defeat these two; but it also was extremely important in understanding how far they were prepared to go.
Suppressing and Stealing the Vote
And in the period immediately prior to Nov. 2, the fact that they were engaged in a massive attempt to intimidate likely Democratic voters, was inescapable. And part of the problem, was that, while we had sufficiently mobilized one section of the Democratic Party, the party as an institution was not prepared. And when Election Day came around, the worst-case scenario really was borne out: Ohio became a national spotlight, because it was so hotly contested. But, Ohio was not the only place that voter suppression kicked in. And it was massive.
Looking at the situation today, and looking back, there is absolutely no question, that, had we conducted fair and honest elections, had there not been a criminal attempt to keep people from the polls, and had there not been significant and documentable irregularities at the polls on Election Day, George Bush would not be President of the United States, today.
The propaganda that you read in the aftermath of the election, something that we exploded very effectively, and I'll get to that in a minutebut the propaganda that you read is that George Bush will say, that he had a mandate going into this election; that more people voted for him than any President sinceI don't know who; whoever. (That doesn't really make for a good speech. You can't say, "More people voted for me than whoever." But it was the case.) But it was also the case that more people voted for John Kerry, than had voted for any previous President. We had mobilized the population.
In places like Ohio, people stood on line for hours, and hours, and hours, to cast their vote! The same was true in many other statesin Florida, in Pennsylvania, across the Midwest. We did mobilize people to come out and vote. And the fact that we mobilized the numbers that we did, despite the voter suppression, was startling.
But, the fact was, that it was not enough. It wasn't enough to overcome the voter suppression, and it was not sufficient to deal with something that I think many people in the United States did not calculate, which was the absolute insanity of the U.S. population in certain areas. One of the things that the Bush crowd used to mobilize people were the churches. And in many communitiesand we have to be clear on thisthis was a campaign of raw fear. Because of the overall collapse of many institutions in the United States, particularly in more rural areas, the fact is that the church is still the principal social institution. And the pressure, coming out of these fundamentalist churches to vote for Bush, was enormous. There was also a mixed message, coming out of many black churches, and we should be honest about it. The Bush apparatus had poured billions of dollars, via the Faith-Based Initiative, into black churches across the United States. And while I didn't get any word of any black churches mobilizing people to vote for Bush, they were perhaps not as enthusiastic as they might have been.
The fact is, the election was, until the wee hours of the morning, too close to call. The next day, Kerry did concede the election, against our advice and against the advice of Bill Clinton. But worse than Kerry's concession, was the fact that the Democratic Party was in a complete state of despair.
People had worked hard for the election. But the fact is, they started too late. And I think that probably the most important reflection that day after the election, was the statement that Lyn had put out on Sept. 11th, which was "Had I Not Been Excluded." If Lyn had not been excluded, if Lyn had been permitted to participate in the Democratic debates, if the Congressional Black Caucus had not acted like a bunch of stupid prostitutes in that first debate that took place at Morgan State [University], where they excluded Lyn, then the fact is, that Lyn's influence would have asserted itself earlier, and all the voter suppression in the world, would not have allowed Bush a shot at the Presidency.
The day after the election, people were talking crazy! Some of the most combative people during the course of the campaign, people like James Carville, were going on national TV saying crazy stuff! About how Democrats lost because they didn't talk enough about "values," and. What "values"? I meanyou're going to talk to me about George Bush and "values"? He has the values of a Nazi Stormtrooper! If that had just been said directly and straightforwardly, very early on, that would have been the end of the discussion about "values." No one is going to convince me, that George Bush became President because people were upset about gay marriage. Hell! I'll support gay marriage. They ought to get married and stop screwing around! It would bring the AIDS rate down significantly! There's nothing wrong with monogamy! (I'm kiddingI always forget that I'm Lyn's spokeswoman.)
I think one of the big ironies of this is something thatI don't know how big a story this is outside the Beltway, but inside the Beltway, one of the big scandals of the day, is the role of this character Jeff Gannon, who'sI mean you want to talk about gay marriage; that's a good reason why you should make gay marriage legal! This guy was planted in the White House press corps to pitch softballs to Bush. There's other stuff that could be said about him. But, one of the things that came out, when he was exposed, was that not only was he not a legitimate journalist, but he runs five gay porn sites! They all have titles that would lead you to believe that they're kind of "military newsletters." And they areyou just have to picture, remember those photos of Sly Stallone with the bandoliers of bullets. Well, just picture him that way, not wearing anything but the bullets! So, much for the great Christian values of the Bush Administration.
LaRouche's Crucial Nov. 9 Webcast
But, getting back to matters of importance: Anticipating that Lyn's intervention would be critical regardless of who won the election, we had already scheduled a webcast in Washington, D.C. for Nov. 9. And it was actually at that point, that Lyn made an intervention, that I think determined everything that has occurred since then. The fact was, as I said, the Democratic Party was in very bad shape: Kerry had already conceded, and was virtually in hiding at the time. And when Lyn took the podium on Nov. 9, he was absolutely combative and unequivocal. And he stepped forward into a leadership vacuum.
People who had fought valiantly during the course of the Presidential campaign, were nowhere to be found! The people who were visible, were saying things that were stupid. Lyn stepped forward, and Lyn made clear, that the voter suppression that had been carried out in the campaign was nothing less than a coup against the U.S. Constitution. And he was absolutely emphatic on the point. I really can't stress to people enough, how important Lyn's intervention was.
People who were upset about the voter suppression, were screaming "vote fraud" at the time. And the fact is, that to have proceeded on the question of vote fraud itself, would have been a catastrophe: Because, while there were significant irregularities, and while those irregularities were well-documented, the fact of the matter is, that what we knewand also what John Kerry knewwas that you could not document sufficient irregularities, to change the outcome of the election.
There were also other tactical issues which were involved, which is, that if you take up vote fraud, if you're going to fight for discrete votes in discrete areas, then you're forced into state courts, and you're arguing, not based on a fundamental principle, but on a point of discretion. Lyn's point, was that what there was sufficient evidence of, was voter suppression, that these were Federal offenses. And they were Federal offenses, the penalty for which was jail time. And that, if in fact, we were going to maintain any credibility among our constituents, that was the fight that had to be made. And Lyn just refused to back off.
You had two different views that we were dealing with: One view, was among people who were well-meaning, but just thought in the wrong way: They weren't good strategic thinkers; they weren't good military leaders. And they were talking "vote fraud." And the fact is, it was a losing effort! We would have found ourselves counting chads, as we had in the year 2000, and essentially you would have put yourself in a situation, where, once again, you would have to deal with a Supreme Court whose general inclination was clear.
But, approaching it from Lyn's standpoint, we were doing something much different: One, it was something that actually could be documented, it was a fight that could be won. It was also an issue that had to be resolved. Not because it would change the outcome of this election, but because it was critical for all future elections.
And it also was a point of principle.
Lyn also anticipated that telling the truth on this would drive Bush into a wilder frenzy, than he was already in. But, what Lyn said, at the webcastjust to remind peoplehe said, "We have them dead to rights on violations of Federal law, on Voting Rights Act violations. That is a crime. That's a five-year Federal sentence, once someone is caught committing that crime. Simple vote fraud is more difficult to deal with, but if you go at the Federal criminal violationsFederal criminal violationsin terms of election tampering and in terms of Voting Rights Act frauds, then you open up the whole area. You have to investigate the whole territory in which these crimes have been committed. Which means that the entire question, the larger question, of the vote fraud, has to be considered."
And again, Lyn would not back off on this. Lyn continued to charge that the Republicans had carried out a "not-so-cold coup" against the Constitution. At the same time, Lyn identified that their willingness to tear up the Constitution in this area, would also extend to other areas. And at that Nov. 9 webcast, Lyn identified what was a little-known fact, which was Bush's plans to rip off Social Security through privatization, as the second major focal point of a mobilization that was necessary to salvage the country. And Lyn, again, asserted over and over again, the danger that an insane second Bush Administration posed.
And it was at that Nov. 9 webcast, that we put on the table the facts of the rip-off that Bush was proposing. Now, I'm not going to go into the facts of the Social Security campaign. But, it was on that day that Lyn kicked this effort off. And, literally within hours of Lyn's statement, the fight was on.
Congressmen Take on Voter Suppression Fight
It took a few days for people to kind of gather themselves, but the question of voter suppression became the battle of a group within the Democratic Party that was prepared to fight. Michigan Congressman John Conyers, who is the dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, and who is also the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, took the point on this question. He and about a dozen other Democratsactually 11 other Democrats who served with him on the House Judiciary Committeesent a letter to Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, asking Blackwell to cooperate with them in investigating irregularities that had occurred in the Ohio election. Needless to say, Blackwell was not inclined to cooperate.
Congressman Conyers' pleas to the Judiciary Committee went unheeded, and it was very clear, both on the House side and the Senate side, that there was going to be no collegiality in this new Congress. Democrats were denied a voice, at every point. The Republicans engaged in a purge of their own ranks, and it was made clear that no opposition would be tolerated. We began to hear talk of something that was called "the nuclear option." On the Senate side, there were threats of rules changes to stop any potential filibusters.
And Conyers did something, which without question was borrowing a tactic that we had used repeatedlyand which set the tone for much of what happened afterwardswhich is, Conyers said, that if the Judiciary Committee as a whole would not conduct an investigation, then the Democrats would. And on Dec. 8, Conyers held what was called "a Congressional forum"but it was a hearing. And what was put on the table were volumes of evidence of voting irregularities, of voter suppression, of voter intimidation. The LaRouche Youth Movement played a very significant role in those hearings. Conyers announced at the close of those hearings, that the same group would travel to Ohio a few days later, to conduct yet the next round of investigations.
Now, interestingly, the very same day that Conyers was holding hearings in Ohio, we started to see action on the Senate side of the U.S. Congress. Sen. Byron Dorgan, who chairs the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, held a press conference in the Capitol, in which he announced that Democrats would act on their own to carry out their responsibility of oversight and investigation, wherever and whenever Republicans attempted to block Congress from carrying out their Constitutional responsibilities.
Now, some of you here remember, that when Lyn was in jail, and we were fighting to get him out of prison, and then when he was out of prison, and we were fighting to expose the political assassination bureau that operated inside the Department of Justice, we tried to get the U.S. Congress to exercise its oversight responsibility. When they refused, we went ahead and we did it without them: We convened a panel. In our case, it was not a panel of Congressmen; it was a panel that consisted of former members of Congress and state legislators, who essentially carried out a responsible action, where the Congress was not prepared to do so. And we held hearings, on Department of Justice misconductnot simply in Lyn's case, but in many cases. And to this day, there are many people who still discuss those hearings.
We did the same thing during the Y2K election: When Al Gore and the Democratic Leadership Council refused to allow Democratic Party platform hearings, we convened platform hearings.
The success of that tactic in mobilizing the population clearly impressed members of the Congress who were prepared to fight. And it was interesting, because all previous arguments that had been put forwardand many of you here have been involved in lobbying; many of the legislators who we work with have fought very hard for policy initiatives in the House and in the Senate. And very often, the response would be, people shrugging their shoulders, and saying, "Look it's not like I disagree with you. I happen to agree with you, I happen to think you're right, or I at least think this is worthy of discussion. But, you know, we're in the minority. We don't have the votes, there's really nothing we can do about it. So, we'll just roll over, or bend over, and hope for lubrication."
But there was none of that. There was none of that in December of 2004. And what became clear to us, was that at least on one level, Lyn had won the argument. And that the Democratic Party that we were looking at, was not the same Democratic Party that we had seen just a few months earlier.
And make no mistake about it: That was a result of Lyn's efforts. It was a result of an on-the-ground mobilization by the LaRouche Youth Movement.
It also was a result of the intensity of the crisis. And of the bare-knuckle willingness to impose a fascist policy, that was emanating from Cheney and from Bush.
We continued to fight in this way. And there was no question that, as our mobilization continued, the recognition that Cheney and Bush were moving for a coup against the U.S. Constitution, for a regime change in the United States, became more and more apparent. And the harder we fought, the more they were drawn out.
No Mandate for Bush
When the Electoral College met on Dec. 15, four statesMassachusetts, Maine, Vermont, and Californiatook action questioning the validity of the electoral process, and urged Congressional investigation. The Maine Electors passed a resolution that said Maine's four electoral votes are meaningless, if our sister states cannot hold elections that are fair, accurate, and verifiable.
And the pattern of voter suppression continued to be compiled, and it was astounding. There was no question, that in order to maintain the integrity of the electoral process in the United States, in order to prevent a reflex reaction of despair and cynicism by U.S. citizens, that these Federal crimes had to be presented, to a Joint Session of the U.S. Congress.
Now, some of us have been there before. During the 2000 election and its aftermath, we mobilized for a challenge to the certification of Bush, based on two things: based on allegations of vote fraud in Florida, but much more importantly, based on the fact that Bush had indicated his intention to appoint John Ashcroft Attorney General of the United States. And Ashcroft was on record, as having opposed critical components of the U.S. Constitution. In fact, he had said publicly on more than one occasion, that he preferred the Confederate Constitution, to the Federal Constitution.
But what happened in 2000, as people remember, was that although we had run a very significant mobilization, we weren't strong enough to actually push the thing through. And in 2000, although members of the Black Caucus got up, one after the other, and challenged Bush's right to the Presidency, they didn't have a Democratic Party behind them that was prepared to fight. And they could not find a single U.S. Senator, who would actually endorse their insistence that a debate be conducted. The day before the certification of the Electoral College vote was to be held [this year], Lyn did another meeting in Washington, D.C. The stage was set for the greatest battle that this nation had yet to face. There was a spark of fighting spirit among the people that we were working with, but there was also still a great deal of demoralization. And the Bush-Cheney Administration was becoming increasingly nasty.
But once again, Lyn took the point. And Lyn's message in a very uncertain situation, rang out clearly. People from Capitol Hill asked him, how far it was wise to go. And Lyn said, very clearly, "We are now at the point when the lower 80% of our people are about to lose everything. They are about to lose it all. Either you fight now, or you just ain't human any more. This is an opportunity to fight. It's the best one you've ever had. So, let's fight and let's take it back. Let's beat these guys on the question of Social Security, on the question of voter suppression. Go for the gut, get them out and show people you have the courage to fight. And then, maybejust maybethey'll have the courage to join you in supporting the fight. I'm telling you today, that that is our only chance."
When we left that meeting, everything was still uncertain. The Democrats had possibilitiesand when I say "the Democrats" I mean the Democrats from Ohio and the Democrats who had fought with John Conyers of the question of voter suppressionthey had possibilities of U.S. Senators who would join with them, but nothing was definite. And John Kerry made the decision, not to attend the Joint Session, and instead was touring the Middle East. Some people were targetting Obama from Illinois, but he was a freshman Senator, and there were tactical reasons why it probably would not have been best for him to be the lone Senator to stand in this fight.
The decision was made literally hours before the Joint Session of Congress convened. And on Jan. 6, when they did convene, it was really clear: Lyn's influence in the party was stronger now, than it had been four years ago. We had organized leading Democrats across the nation, to understand that this was the point, where they had to either fight, or die. And we knew, going into Jan. 6, that no matter what happened, we didn't have sufficient forces, or sufficient votes, to stop Bush's certification. But, what we did know, was that if, in fact, we forced the issue during the Joint Session, that the synarchists would be put on notice: That if they wanted to attempt a coup against the Republic of the United States, that that coup would not be a cold one, and that they'd better be prepared for a fight.
And on Jan. 6, they got that fight. And Congressional Democrats met Lyn's challenge, and in an historic event wiped out, once and for all, the illusion that George Bush had a mandate. Barbara Boxer was the lone Senator, who endorsed Stephanie Tubb Jones's call.
And I have to tell you, one of the things that we were told afterwards, was once the Republicans had been informed that Boxer was going to sign the resolution, which mandated a halt to the certification processfor people who know the procedure, and some people here know it, because you were through it, but some don't: Once a challenge like that has been made, by a member of the House and a member of the Senate, the Joint Session is brought to a close. And the two Houses of Congress have to convene separately for two hours of debate, before they reconvene in Joint Session.
When the White House was informed that Boxer was going to sign the resolution, Dick Cheney, who as President of the Senate would be presiding over the Joint Session, announced to the people gathered in the White House that he wasn't going to do it! As a matter of fact, the quote that we were given, was, that his response was, "Fuck 'em! I have the podium. I have the gavel. I'm going to rule it out of order."
Now, nuclear option is one thing, but this is very clearly spelled out in the Constitution. And the White House lawyers went crazy! And they said, "No, look, you can't do that. You can do a lot of things, but you can't do that. If you do that, you will set off a Constitutional crisis, that even our Supreme Court is not going to be able to see us through." So Cheney finally relented, but you could see him fuming at the moment that Barbara Boxer rose to endorse a resolution that had been raised by Stephanie Tubb Jones. And, we learnednot surprisinglybut, we learned that the pressure that Boxer had been put under, and that other U.S. Senators had been put under, was absolutely excruciating. It was an outright thug attempt to stop the debate. But the fact is, that the debate took place. And it did crush the illusion of the Bush mandate.
A Revolution in the Democratic Party
And, the fact is, if we had a fight prior to Jan. 6, what happened after Jan. 6, was nothing less than a complete revolution in the nature of the Democratic Party in the United States. And there is also no question, that this was made possible by Lyn.
Where did they get the courage to do it? Well, one place that they got the courage, was as a result of what Lyn did on the Social Security fight. Because, from Nov. 9 on, we wouldn't let up on this issue. And what we identified, was that Bush's plan to privatize Social Security was not about privatizing Social Security: that it was about stealing the money.
And we scandalized the fact, that the idiots around George Bushand they were idiots. See, the point is, that when you're crazy and evil at the same timeand also stupid on top of ityou make mistakes. And what these guys insisted on doingfrom the tactical standpoint, it was the stupidest thing they could have done!they kept insisting that model for Bush's privatization plan was the Chilean Model.
Now, there were two things about the Chilean Model that were important: One, is that was an abject failure, and that it thrust retirees in Chile into desperate poverty, and placed an enormous burden on the Chilean government. Because people who would normally have had access to retirement funds, were instead forced onto the equivalent of welfare, in a developing sector country. That was one reason, why it was silly to keep citing the Chilean Model. But, there was also another reason, and that was the factwhich Bush and his friends at the Cato Institute failed to tell people aboutthat the only way the Chilean Model was implemented, was on the heels of a fascist coup! It took Augusto Pinochet, and the immediate disappearance of approximately 50,000 Chileans, to implement the Chilean Model in Chile.
And one of the things, that I would remind people of here, is that Bush and Cheney, ain't no Augusto Pinochet. And this ain't no Chile!
And by their action, the question was put on the table. People had to choose, which tradition they wanted to follow, the tradition of Augusto Pinochet? Or the tradition of FDR? And that was what Lyn continued to hammer away at.
We put out 600,000 copies of the pamphlet that identified Bush's privatization plan as a "foot in the door to fascism." And I tell you something, I don't know how many members of Congress actually read the entire pamphlet. But the cover of the pamphlet was sufficient to say it all. And, actually, if people aren't familiar with it, we can show you some overheads just to remind you. But, it really did define the fight.
Breakout of the Fight Against