Last night, on a 83-7 vote, the Senate voted to bar ACORN from receiving any funds in the fiscal 2010 Transportation and HUD appropriations bills. If the House follows suit, that would effectively end several housing assistance and advocacy programs that ACORN has successfully done for several years.
The vote is the latest fallout from Glenn Beck’s jihad against all signs of progressivism in the Obama White House. First it was Van Jones, fired from his green jobs advisory post after right-wing websites branded him a Communist radical. Now it’s ACORN. Who’s next?
The worst part is that a majority of Senate Democrats went along with the vote against ACORN. Freshman Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., sponsored the amendment cutting the funding, and used to back up his argument a deluge of right-wing propaganda — from the entrapment of ACORN employees by a conservative video hit squad to an 88-page screed ginned up in July by Rep. Darrell Issa and House Republicans entitled “Is ACORN Intentionally Structured As A Criminal Enterprise?”
Not one Democrat had the guts to speak up on the Senate floor against this right-wing attack.
Digby on Saturday shared a reader observation that helps put this in context: Recall that Xe, formerly known as Blackwater, has had a contract with the State Department extended this month despite the fact that five Blackwater guards were charged with 35 counts of manslaughter. Blackwater almost singlehandedly undercut Iraqi support for the American presence in Iraq, but Congress took no action to bar it from further contracts.
There is one word for the Democratic votes to de-fund ACORN: appeasement. The conservative machine to which Glenn Beck is beholden gins up a controversy based on either facts blown out of proportion or total falsehoods. And when faced with the opportunity to stand up for truth, fairness, due process and the mandate the voters gave Congress and the White House to stand up for progressive policies, too many Democrats either run silent or run scared.
We should know from the health care debate that appeasement is as failed a strategy today as it was in 1938 when Neville Chamberlain tried it against Nazi Germany. The more Democrats give in—whether it’s deep-sixing the public option in response to fear-mongering about “government-run health care” or cutting funds to badly needed services for low-income people because of a few bad actors in a grassroots organization—the more empowered and hungry the unprincipled power-grabbers in the conservative movement will become. It is a losing strategy for Democrats and a dangerous path for America.
Congress, stop the appeasement. Get a spine. Draw a line. Now.