Michaelis' Arrogance REVEALED!!!by Kyle Michaelis
Remember that this ad is one in a series produced and aired in the name of the NDP, grounds for which I took exception to the party's implied endorsement of both Nelson's position and his use of this lab-tested Republican rhetoric to undermine the entire notion of progressive taxation in America.
You could not be more off-base in this posting. First of all, the Nebraska Democratic Party is under no obligation to tow anyone's line in an election. That includes Nelson or, more importantly, you. So you can disagree, but your framing of this as a fundamental betrayal of values is yours alone. you are not the arbitor of Democratic orthodoxy.
furthermore, if you had done a google search on this issue, you would have seen last week's story in the Grand Island Independent where Nelson says he supports full repeal, but would support a compromise as full repeal doesn't have enough votes. This is a far cry from your characterization of his actions.
Third, you give great credit to the NE Dems for running ads and having the resources to do that, but you don't seem to consider that Nelson's considerable weight is a big reason why the party has so many resources at its disposal. You say you're not advocating Democrats turning their backs on Nelson while the entire content of your post suggests otherwise. so i ask you - how many resources do you think the party would have without a single congressional or statewide seat?
Frankly, while I admire your independence, I can't help but notice that in the week leading up to this posting, you had only posted nice things about a single group or officeholder in Nebraska - Republican Senator Chuck Hagel.
Well, thank you Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous for your response. I do appreciate such criticism as an essential check on the veracity and reasonableness of my work at the New Nebraska Network. It would no doubt benefit both myself and my readers to have a wider diversity of thought and, yes, sometimes even a greater depth of understanding than I, alone, can provide.
That said, here is where the smackdown begins!
While I acknowledge the presumptuousness of my personally announcing what is or is not a Democratic value - and am generally loathe to partake in such egotistical behavior - this is one issue where I am proud as a Democrat and shamed as a Nebraska Democrat to stand by my original assessment.
For evidence, you need look no further than today's front page of the Democratic National Committee's website (aptly-titled www.democrats.org) for the following celebratory announcement:
Today, Senate Democrats led the charge to block a repeal of the Estate Tax, which would have handed the wealthiest Americans a windfall of nearly $1 trillion over the next 10 years.
That not good enough for you? Fair enough - then, may I please direct you to the 2004 Democratic Party Platform, which includes countless statements of principles so clearly out-of-step with the estate tax repeal that it is not even worth debating.
A sample, however, for our anonymous disbeliever (with my alleged Messiah complex, let's just call him Doubting Thomas):
We must restore our values to our tax code. We want a tax code that rewards work and creates wealth for more people, not a tax code that hoards wealth for those who already have it. With the middle class under assault like never before, we simply cannot afford the massive Bush tax cuts for the very wealthiest.
If I can't speak for the Democratic Party, I certainly hope my dear Anonymous will allow the Democratic Party to speak for itself. Again, repealing the estate tax will benefit only the wealthiest one-half of one-percent of estates - the richest five of every 1000 would receive a $1 trillion tax cut while the other 99.5% see nothing but sky-rocketing defecits, greater costs, and fewer services for those in actual need.
Yes, for any Democratic Party worth fighting for, that is a betrayal of its values - now and forever!
As for my supposed mischaracterization of Nelson's demand for repeal rather than reform of the estate tax, the record speaks for itself - as advertised at the NDP's NebraskaFirst website:
Nelson voted against attempts to only partially eliminate the estate tax. He voted against the Dorgan amendment to exempt estates of up to $8 million per couple and the Conrad amendment to exempt estates of up to $7 million per couple.
I must thank Anonymous, however, for drawing my attention to the article in the Independent. I'm glad to see Nelson is adopting a less hard-line stance in this foolish abandonment of fiscal discipline and betrayal of the middle-class.
Having seen the statistics on whom repeal of the estate tax actually benefits, it's quite stomach-churning and painful reading Nelson's apparent attempt to justify his position because it discriminates against those multi-million dollar estates that aren't giving sufficient amounts to charity and weren't planned properly.
Ben Nelson: Fighting for the Super-Rich's Right to be Super-Selfish (and Irresponsible) since 2000! Boy, when can I expect that bumper sticker?
Need I also point out that the article in the Independent reports on the federal study that almost completely debunks the claim that estate tax repeal will help Nebraska family farms? In that case, whose interests does this serve, again?
Oh, that's right - the Super-Rich! And, of course, let's not forget the Super-Super-Rich!
Anonymous then suggests that my earlier post was a de facto call for Nebraska Democrats to turn their back on Nelson - despite my outright stating such was not the case. Oh, how the tables so quickly turn. Having made a considerable investment of time and thought to defending Nelson from precisely this sort of "with us or against us" mentality on the part of liberal Democrats, this is certainly an ironic testament to the sheer convenience of such attacks.
Of course, the entire thrust of the post in question was not to revel in my outrage at Nelson's recent votes but to challenge whether the Nebraska Democratic Party should be attaching its name to those positions taken by Nelson where he breaks with his party and its most commonly-accepted principles (in addition to the estate tax, Nelson also directly contradicts the 2004 Democratic Platform on the Federal Marriage Amendment and immigration reform).
It is and has been my contention that Nebraka Democrats can and should make allowances for Nelson, but the same freedom should not be extended to the party apparatus expected to serve their interests. No matter how dependent the NDP may be on Nelson for survival (in terms of funding and legitimacy), the Party must respect its first responsibility to the voters.
Where Nelson wants to establish his independence and his breaking with Democratic orthodoxy, he can consult his conscience and balance his electoral concerns in whatever manner he sees fit - accepting the resulting trade-offs - but there are issues...in this case, there is language...so contrary to the Democratic Party's stated purpose that the NDP has no place swallowing (and selling) that piece of the Nelson pie.
Finally, Anonymous makes what I can only assume was an attempt to shame me into silence by pointing out that my kindest words - of late - have been for Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel. This is an illegitimate criticism with no basis in my actual writing, dependent on an entirely partisan worldview to which I refuse to subscribe. To it, I will not lower myself with any further response unless someone can offer an honest example from the NNN archives amounting to more than innuendo. Happy hunting!