Quit the Party!

by DAVE LINDORFF

Cynthia McKinney is doing it. It’s time for you to do it too.

Have you, like many Americans, found yourself wondering why President Bush, over and over again, would hand the Democrats in Congress the weapon needed to bring him down?

Just look at the list:

Last year it was the nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Then, in the new Congress, it was a $120-billion supplemental funding request for continuing the hugely unpopular war in Iraq, followed by a bill to legalize the very National Security Agency spying program which he has been running illegally for the past half decade, and that has had people of all political stripes in an uproar. To top that off, knowing that the Democrats were gunning for his Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, Bush made sure to have the NSA spying bill put Gonzales in charge of the operation! And now this same president is coming to Congress to ask for another nearly $200 billion for his Iraq War!

At first glance, you have to wonder, why on earth would he do this?

But then look what happens:

In every instance, with the exception of the latest Iraq War funding bill (and we know what’s going to happen with that), the Democrats have folded and given the president exactly what he wanted, causing apoplexy among the Democratic and independent voters who put them in charge of Congress last November. After all, Democrats ran for office last year saying they would stand up to the president, defend the Constitution, and end the war. Now each time Bush taunts them and they fold, public support for the Democratic Congress slumps further, to the point that today, they are even less popular that Bush-quite an accomplishment!

This is a truly impressive strategy-surely the brainchild of Bush’s Rasputin, the dearly departed (to Texas) Karl Rove, who long ago understood that the Democrats would not have the courage and strength of conviction to stand against even a president as profoundly despised and distrusted as Bush.

So all Bush has to do to promote a Republican victory in the 2008 elections is keep putting forward outrageous bills, keep expanding the war, perhaps to include Iran, and keep undermining the Constitution. The Democrats will enable or sign on to each horrible act in turn. And with each such shameless action taken by the Democratic Congress, they further enrage 2008 voters.

The Democrats, under Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (surely two of the sorriest excuses for leaders that Congress has had in modern history), simply don’t get it. They don’t realize they’re being played for suckers and losers. And they don’t even realize that they are alienating their base.

Which brings us to what needs to be done.

The Democrats in Congress, and at the head of the party, need to receive a serious wake-up call. Since they’re clearly too dumb or too out of touch to realize what’s happening, we need to send them a message they can’t ignore-the political equivalent of a car bomb.

I’m talking about mass resignations from the Democratic Party, with every person who resigns and becomes an independent or who changes their registration to a third party sending a message to the DNC explaining why he or she is quitting.

It starts small with a few people here and a few people there, but as Arlo Guthrie once put it, pretty soon we’re talking about a movement, and you can join it right here!

A couple of months back, I set up an email address for people to register at, and listed it on my website. To date, over 600 people have mailed in saying they are quitting the Democratic Party until Democrats in Congress begin impeachment proceedings against Bush and Cheney, and until they cut of all funding for the Iraq War.

Now it’s time to really kick this campaign into high gear.

A few days ago, Cynthia McKinney, the gutsy and outspoken former congresswoman from Georgia who filed the first and so far only bill of impeachment against George W. Bush in the waning days of the last Congress, called me at home to say she wants to sign on. That’s a nice start to the campaign!

You read it first here: Former Rep. McKinney Quits the Democratic Party!

So how about you? Think about it: If you were to accept the official line, George Bush won the presidency in 2000 by capturing the state of Florida by 537 votes. And this movement has already got more than that number of people who are no longer going to be Democrats! If we could get 537 people in each state of the union to sign on and drop their party affiliation in protest, the Democratic leadership would have to start contemplating how many close states they are going to lose next year because of their abject failure to act on principle and with courage in Congress.

Better still, if we could get 100,000 or 500,000 people to drop their party affiliation nationwide, that would send a really powerful signal.

The beauty of this plan of action is that it is easy to do. And Democratic officials, from the DNC to local officeholders and county committees watch those registration totals like hawks, so they’ll spot any de-registering trend really quickly. In fact, if registrations start to drop, you’ll see local party officials start pressuring their Congressional representatives to take action and do something to stem the flow. For one thing, if you deregister, you’re off their mailing lists. That means they can’t hit you up for money, and they can’t target you for get-out-the-vote drives. (Meanwhile, in many states, you don’t even forfeit your right to participate in Democratic primaries by dropping your party registration, so you can still vote against Hillary and the rest of the warmongers in the party.)

Oh, you say, we can’t just quit the party and let the Republicans win again!

Really? And just what have we gotten for our support for the Democrats in 2006? The war is still fully funded, and in fact has gotten worse, with 30,000 more troops in the country, not counting the 100,000 or so private mercenaries. Spying on Americans here a home has been legalized, with the help of the Democrats. (Nancy Pelosi can use threats of party discipline to prevent members from moving on impeachment, but she won’t crack the whip to make them protect the Bill of Rights, or to defund the war?) And Bush is still issuing those signing statements, so any bills of consequence that Democrats have tried to pass have either been killed by Republican maneuvering, or vetoed.

And public support for the Democratic Congress is in the teens.

Clearly the only way to save the Democrats from themselves is to make it clear to them that they have to change or die.

And the way to do that is to join the "I Quit the Party" movement!

So click here and be a quitter. (Remember to get a voter registration form and follow through by cancelling your Democratic Party affiliation!)

After you quit, then go to Dem.org, where Steve Fornier is trying to help organize people who have left the Democratic Party, but still want to be democrats. To learn more about Fornier’s idea, read his recent CounterPunch article.

Note: You can also help build the movement by sending this article and link to every progressive person and progressive website you can think of. It’s time to take quitting the party viral.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His book of CounterPunch columns titled "This Can’t be Happening!" is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff’s newest book is "The Case for Impeachment",
co-authored by Barbara Olshansky.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com



Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

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