Wednesday November 4 2009
Hour One: Is Barack Obama still the nation's rorschach test?
Hour Two: "Does the election in NY's 23rd prove the fallacy of the Republican strategy of emulating Reagan in saying one thing and doing another?" Thom mixes it up with conservative Craig Shirley www.sbpublicaffairs.com
Hour Three: "Why are corporations getting free speech rights?" Thom challenges Dan Gainor of the Business and Media Institute www.businessandmedia.org
It appears that most news outlets are declaring that Republican wins in the governorships of New Jersey and Virginia are referendums on Obama’s popularity, although it is more likely that the Democratic candidates simply didn’t inspire Obama’s younger and first-time voter support to come out and vote. Obama certainly made a mistake in putting his personal prestige on the line for the unpopular Jon Corzine, and in a state (Virginia) that is still part of the conservative South. He didn’t need to tie himself so directly to candidates who were likely to lose anyway, and by doing so has put his agenda in jeopardy, no thanks to weak-kneed Democrats in Congress. Even now Harry Reid is backing off on passing a health care bill this year, and waiting until next year when Democrats will be less likely of passing a worthwhile bill in an election year, especially when the aroma of fresh insurance company re-election dough is waiting on the table.
I’m not sure what Thom’s point is concerning tea-baggers. Is he saying that they “mean well” and their anger is “righteous,” but their anger is being manipulated by the right? Is he saying that progressives should infiltrate these “parties” and offer alternative explanations for why the country is in its current state? Yes, I think progressives should have their own parties (like in the 1960s), but not with these people; all that will happen is shouting and shoving matches, maybe even violence. I wrote a few weeks ago that one should take great care in interpreting what people like this tell you, especially when they have something to hide, and Thom clearly has allowed himself to be duped by these people. Obama has made himself appear naïve and weak by defending these people’s motives.
Where were tea-baggers (or their equivalent) when Reagan was cutting taxes for the rich, firing union air traffic controllers, and exploding the national debt “winning” the Cold War by outspending the Russians building tanks, jets and warships--while there was double digit unemployment? Nor were they motivated to act during the Bush One, Bush Two, or even the Clinton administration. It is only when the likes of tea-bagger-in-chief Mark Williams—a serial bigot given mainstream “credibility” by the media—licked their finger and felt the racist wind, did they come out. Does Thom really think that references to Obama as “an Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug and racist in chief” does not resonate with these tea-baggers? Anderson Cooper on CNN was, like Thom, fooled by the “reasonableness” of the statements made by tea-bag trumpeters in their “official” public statements, but was “surprised” by what they really think when no one is looking. The fact is that tea-baggers are motivated by one thing, and one thing only: we have a black president, and they can’t stand it.
I appreciate Mark's well reasoned and thought provoking post, (above), which examines a side of the coin which many are uncomfortable viewing. One early observation that the Democratic candidates for the New Jersey and Virginia governorships probably didn't inspire Obama's younger and first-time voter support is clearly a truism. What Mark didn't mention is that to expect these voters enthusiasm for Obama to translate into anything more substantial is a fool's errand. President Obama's historic campaign, which was supposed to end one year ago today, was always more of a cult like worship of the man in retrospect, than a true political movement for a shared vision or cause. Progressives joined this effort in the HOPE that he shared our ideals. Organizing for America, is more a continuation of that personal support than a policy driven movement to advance change we can all believe in. Truth in advertising would result in a more accurate name like "Whatever Obama Says", or "Organizing for Obama".
I saw indications of this 18 months ago at our Democratic Congressional District Endorsing Convention. The room was filled with excited delegates, many of whom had never before been formally active before in politics. Their faces had never been seen at the local precinct or district Democratic meetings before. A disproportionate number were young and African American. This is notable because our district is disproportionately white and ex-urban. There were two palpable shared goals for these new recruits. They wanted to coronate Obama and to be selected to attend the National Convention in Denver. Beyond these aims, there was little else. Just a few months before, our statewide Democratic Precinct Caucuses had seen an unprecedented historic turnout. The new faces at the Endorsing Convention a few months later reflected this. Some of us who had been working to build the party for years naively became hopeful, after all, we were the Congressional District that had sent Michele Bachmann to Washington and inflicted her extreme right-wing insanity on the nation. We needed volunteers, money, and help!
Now one year has passed since electing Obama president. I'm sorry to say that I have not seen any of those new faces at the monthly local meetings. Wham, bam, thank you mam. I look around the table at all the meetings I attend, and all the faces are white. They are the same faces I saw two or four years ago. One could fairly argue that we, (the longtime Democratic activists), dropped the ball by not doing better to welcome in these new faces and encourage participation in the party. That however does not explain what is really going on now. The sad truth is that this "movement" was never so much about principals, policies, or patriotic ideals so much as it is about pigment and personality. It is a thin, slender and weak foundation upon which to build a party of progressive politics.
I myself, have fallen victim to the lure of personality driven politics in the past. We want to believe in a "savior" and "hero". Experience has taught me to distrust cults of personality. ( I was once a strong supporter of John Edwards.) I have great hope for President Obama's success so long as it results in America's success. So far, I see little more from him than a slick self-promotion effort. So far, he has seemed to have betrayed his progressive base who he has "ridden hard and put up wet". Yes, he rode those new horses into the White House, but us old work horses carried the load. Thus far he still lavishes attention on his fanatical supporters while neglecting the rational left. He will only go so far if he continues to abuse those who can be depended on to show up to work after the hoopla ends. No, we won't vote for the other side, we just might not show up at all next time. We need more than slogans and promises.
I have a crazy suggestion for our so-far feckless President. Take a lesson from F.D.R. Thus far, the single most common complaint against the Obama White House, shared by people of all stripes, is a strong dissatisfaction with the economic polices as practiced by Geithner, Somers, and Bernanke. A major part of this has to do with the immoral and unpatriotic actions of Wall St., the Financial Industry, and Insurance cartels against the working people of this nation.
F.D.R. when confronting similar circumstances decided who better to construct security for the chickens than the fox? He appointed ol'Joe Kennedy to reform the S.E.C. He knew all the tricks and did a good job closing the gaps. Jon Corzine is looking for work and similarly understands the gaps in our financial system. Obama should ignore the inevitable howls from the right and appoint the former Governor to a post where he could make a real difference. I think he would be a formidable force for good. Just don't send him on to the Court of St. James after he cleans out the barn. Just a thought.
You read my mind... The question now is how can those same now-absent "new faces" be educated to understand what is at stake without their participation?
My very Republican mother headed committees and backed causes until she was nearly 80 and serious heatlh problems took her "out of the game." Watching her activism throughout her life, I saw that it was ALWAYS the same "workhorses" who made things happen, until they were too old or died. Then, someone was FORCED to step up.
DDay, I think it would really help to have annual events (seminars) on leadership and what it takes to work in a leadership position within the party. I think many people would consider leadership roles if they understood (and maybe could be an apprentice for) what the jobs entail. What do you think? (I, myself, would like to understand leadership duties better. In my mother's shadow, I always felt more comfortable as a "worker bee", tho I was a delegate to the state DFL convention.)
Could the younger and other people who didn't show up this year be contacted and invited to see what leadership and participation is about? We have so many talented people in MN who could help with this (former Dean people, etc.)
If Summers and Geithner couldn't/wouldn't shovel out the ----, how do we know that Corzine would? 'Just asking...
LOL. I guess it's all relative (according to Einstein, anyway.) I sort of like B Roll's assertion (yesterday?) that this could be a form of time travel, and we get a do-over! LOL
AND yet the DEMs fielded two truly weak-arsed, P.o.S. candidates in the Virginia and New Jersey Governor races. Both have flipped to the party opposing the President 14 times outta the last 16 races. History could been bucked if the Democrats had just put some forethought and action into their selection process.
Year President Virginia Winner New Jersey Winner Net House
2009 Barack Obama (D) Bob McDonnell (R) Chris Christie (R) ?
2005 George W. Bush (R) Tim Kaine (D) Jon Corzine (D) Dem +31
2001 George W. Bush (R) Mark Warner (D) Jim McGreevey (D) GOP +7
1997 Bill Clinton (D) Jim Gilmore (R) Christie Whitman (R) Dem +5
1993 Bill Clinton (D) George Allen (R) Christie Whitman (R) GOP +54
1989 George H.W. Bush (R) Doug Wilder (D) Jim Florio (D) Dem +7
1985 Ronald Reagan (R) Gerald Baliles (D) Tom Kean (R) Dem +5
1981 Ronald Reagan (R) Chuck Robb (D) Tom Kean (R) Dem +27
WTF! Do we hate being in power? Do we wanta be the permanent minority? Do DEMs like listening to FAUX News point to statistically highly probable events and beat the drum of Clinton/Pelosi/Obama backlash for the eight to ten months leading into the next election cycle? GRRR.
Thank you, Tim Kaine (D-Outgoing VA Governor and DNC Chairperson) . . . The DNC is now the DLC . . . AND Democrats LOVE Corporations . . . And hate to win.
RADICAL RIGHT -- ARMEY TO MEET WITH AUTHOR OF TOWN HALL HARASSMENT MEMO TO PLAN PURGE OF MODERATES FROM THE GOP: The Hartford Courant reported Tuesday that former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, chairman of FreedomWorks and chief astroturf organizer, is planning to travel to Fairfield, CT on Nov. 11 for a "strategy session" with conservative activists, including Bob MacGuffie, the original author of the infamous town hall harassment strategy memo. Armey will be discussing how to scale-up the purging of moderates from the GOP, a strategy that created a national sensation in New York's 23rd congressional district. As The Progress Report first reported in late July, MacGuffie authored the now infamous memo detailing how conservative activists can successfully disrupt Democratic health care town halls. The memo was distributed through a listserv controlled by FreedomWorks, the corporate front group which organized the tea party movement earlier this year. In town hall after town hall this August, MacGuffie's strategy was used to target members of Congress who were considering supporting health care reform. Although Armey disputed his relation to the memo, both Rolling Stone and Talking Points Memo have verified that FreedomWorks staffers, like FreedomWorks Florida coordinator Tom Gaitens, control the Tea Party Patriots listserv that distributed the memo. Armey has gone so far as denying even knowing Gaitens, even though he has worked for FreedomWorks for years and can be seen in the last 10 seconds of this ABC News segment handing a microphone to Armey. Both MacGuffie and Armey are targeting Republican candidates like Sens. Lindsey Graham (SC) and Olympia Snowe (ME), Reps. Bob Inglis (SC) and Mark Kirk (IL), Gov. Charlie Crist (FL), and other Republicans who have strayed from rigid party-line positions.
-The Progress Report
I moved to the state of Virginia 8 years ago. The locals tell me that the republicans (here) will vote in the Democratic primaries, choosing the least capable candidate to run against them in the fall elections.
I tried to approach party leaders about "capturing" as many of the new faces which showed up at the precinct caucuses two February(s) ago. They let me spend days entering in the information gleaned that night into the party's data bank, but were not interested in advice about what to do with that information. In fact, the access to the data was promised but not made available to local units until just days before the election. The hierarchy of our State Party is firmly aligned withe DLC, DCCC factions and not with the Dean people. We perhaps need to form a progressive caucus within our party and wrest power from the hands of the corporatist members now in control.
As to Corzine...I believe he is a true progressive who if removed from the constraints of political considerations would be effective given his experience and knowledge. He owes no one anything and hopefully would welcome a chance to truly contribute to his country. His ego would hopefully compel him to really do something important and aid his legacy. I can't be sure, but, give me twenty minutes questioning and I could tell if he understood what needed to be done. Barack should be able to do so too.
OBAMA: Democrats Love Corporations . . . Thirty steps backward.
America REQUIRED a Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, FDR and we got exactly what Obama actually promised. This is Clinton REDUX. Yes, things are getting done but there are dead bodies everywhere.
There already IS a Progressive Caucus within the DFL. Can we work thru them?
That "straw poll" was so discouraging.
We Dems always lose because we shoot our candidates.
Who needs Rush Limbaugh when we have progressive talk show hosts who dump crap on Obama all day because he isn't perfectly living up to some pet ideology?
OBAMA: Half measures and compromises behind closed doors = 1 term
We could try! Who is their leader? If they let me in I'll raise some dust.
4 Steps to Real Financial Reform
Another video link I will send to the White House and my legislators:
I'll look up and post some links...
Richard L. Adlof
What was it that you said a few days ago... something about the democratic party being a party of centralist? I thought it was spot on.
@THOM: You are incorrect. Deeds’ base did show up. They voted for McDonnell.
Deeds is a Corporate DEM. McDonnell, a recessivist Pat Robertson Republican, who lied his backside off by pretending his expressed (written) opinions were not his opinions and played to the center. The Corporate DEMs voted with the better Corporate DEM.
It is not some pet ideology! We are talking about principal over personality cults. If you want to be part of a political movement who marches in lock-step without questioning you are fishing in the wrong pond. I for one, place principal and country above party. Patriotism is served by critical assessment.
Check this out:
President Obama is and always was a just-right-of-the-center-of-the-road centrist. Folk used to be able to go to http://www.progressivepunch .org and review his Even Bayh-like, mediocre, wishy-washy voting record. Folk just read crap into him because they were desperate beyond belief for something different.
From what I can tell, this is a Green Party operation. I'm specifically talking about a group of active DFL leaders/delegates to start applying pressure within the party. Hey Hey...Ho Ho...Chairman Melendez has got to go! Hey Hey Ho Ho.
See you in Duluth?
President Obama is a hands-off manager and a non-existent leader. He might as well be wearing a cowboy hat and clearing brush on a faux ranch in Texas.
Amen Richard! I never read crap into him though....I just hoped he would poop ice cream, I never got my spoon out.
The 'Protocols' spewing arse-hat calls into all the liberal talk shows . . . Stephanie Miller battles him regularly.
Here is the official DFL Progressive Caucus website:
It is frustrating that the President has not done what we expected, and some say he can't do it overnight and it took alot longer to get to this point, that it will take atleast that amount of time to fix it, but do we have the time? Next year the election will surely change the Congress, and even with the Majority we are not able to get anything done, so time is of the essence, so he needs to be the "bull in the china cabinet," and atleast apply the pressure to the rogue Dems/Independents, and push on the issues that are important that were of his campaign and what he was elected on. He knew who would be pushing back before he became the President! Healthcare in 2013? The right will never let it happen......I wish the President and the Dem leadership well, but they need to take the lead and start ruffling some feathers! Please - for us!
I'm crazy about YOU. Thanx!
FDR saw the light. Obama hasn't yet, or he thinks he can compromise. Either way, it's not good enough. I bless him for wanting the best, but he seems not to be able to accomplish it (so far.)
Back at ya!
The voters of Maine broke my heart yesterday. I had such high hopes for that race. It was a race for the human race.
Yes, I wanted to cry...
Horse-crap: Dede Scozzafava is way to the right in the New York State Assembly.
Just received this from VA Congressman J. Randy Forbes
We received notice last night that the House of Representatives could vote on the newest version of the healthcare bill, H.R. 3962, as early as Friday evening. The bill is almost 2,000 pages in length and, if passed, will result in a government-takeover of our healthcare system...
I just spoke to an expert in women's health and gynecology, (my wife), about Restless Vagina Syndrome. I asked her if it was real? She said she has read about it but never encountered it in her practice. She said that the literature says that women are extremely reluctant to speak about it. It apparently is manifested by sufferers being on the verge of an orgasm all the time. She did reveal that our dear friend Tom, who is a bachelor doctor, reports that he encounters it all the time, (not in his practice but in his private pursuits) and suspects he is the cause. He claims to be the cure too! Tom is the original PIG, but a great doctor. We affectionately call him Mengle.
I would love to go to Duluth. However, there's no guarantee I'd be elected. Our caucus likes to give people who haven't attended the convention a chance. Since it's an off-year, maybe I will go. As Thom says, time will tell.
I have been thinking that the involvement (and encouragement) of the Dick Armey corporate groups is the scariest thing about yesterday's elections. This gives even MORE direct power to these bad actors to control the government. Like all the other malfeasance we've seen by the right (stolen elections, etc.), it starts small, with a test case, then gets multiplied on a huge scale.
BEST Dan Gainor segment EVER!!!! Bar none. He should stay off the air more often.
Question: Why does Thom like to beat his head against the wall by 'debating" people like Dan Gainor?
Answer: Because he feels better when he stops.
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Why am I always right???
My wife has informed me that the power structure of the Nazi Party will be grooming Hitler II for the presidency in 2012. His name is Jeb Bush, Hitler the second.
WAIT! November 3rd was TUESDAY!!!! WEDNESDAY is November 4th!!!! What is up with this?