Guest post by Smartypants
What’s frustrating in reading all this nonsense is that it seems that very few people pay any attention to history these days – even the more recent variety. Because if they did, they’d know that the Democrats had their own populist movement not that long ago. And the real question is whether or not we can sustain it on a national level going in to the 2016 presidential election.
To set the stage, we have to go back to what led up to the Reagan/Bush years. For the best description of how that happened, I’d suggest that folks read what Peter Beinart wrote about it a couple of years ago. To summarize, coming out of the left-wing hey-day of the 60’s, Democrats got their butts kicked for 20 years in presidential elections – with the one exception being the Carter years that were a direct result of Nixon’s Watergate. Here’s what the Republicans did:
1972 – 520 electoral votes (49 states)
1980 – 489 electoral votes (44 states)
1984 – 525 electoral votes (49 states)
1988 – 426 electoral votes (40 states)
As you might imagine, Democrats were scared shitless that their future as a national party was over (things looked even worse for them than they currently do for Republicans these days). And so, a group of mostly Southern Democrats got together and formed the Democratic Leadership Council in 1985. Their goal was to shift the Democratic Party more towards “centrist” policies. But perhaps more importantly, they felt the need to attract more big money donors to the Democratic Party in order to compete with Republicans.
The result of these efforts was the election of Clinton/Gore (both founders of the DLC) in 1992. Perhaps since the Democrats were still fairly new to this whole business of big money donors, Clinton/Gore got off to a rocky start that resulted in a whole string of scandals about campaign finance. In case you’re forgotten about all that, just think “Lincoln bedroom.”
To connect this with the current race for VA governor, it was during Clinton’s presidency that he installed Terry McAulliffe (big donor fundraiser extraordinaire) as the head of the Democratic Party. That’s why you see the Clinton’s campaigning so hard in his election – their connection to McAuliffe is deep.
One of the first Democrats to speak out against this capture of the party by the DLC was Paul Wellstone; it was the context for the line that was eventually adopted by Howard Dean: “I represent the democratic wing of the Democratic Party.”
And then came Howard Dean’s presidential campaign in 2004. Anyone who actually paid attention knows that – other than his anti Iraq war position – Dean was no flaming liberal. But his bottom-up anti-establishment campaign was a direct challenge to what the DLC and the Clinton’s had built – especially in their reliance on big money.
As a full-blown Deaniac at the time, I watched the Clinton machine go after Howard Dean – as ferociously (perhaps moreso) than the Republicans did. And that became even more evident after Dean lost the presidential primary to John Kerry and went on to out-maneuver them to become Chair of the Democratic Party following Kerry’s loss to Bush.
As you probably know, Dean instituted a 50-state strategy, which was an attempt to build up the party to be competitive in all 50 states. Rather than the party elites picking candidates, Dean wanted them to come from the grassroots. And even after his success in the 2006 elections, the Clinton machine brought out the knives against him. You can read about some of that here. But perhaps the crux of it came when James Carville said that Dean should be fired and replaced with…get this…Harold Ford (then DLC Chair).
All of that is what set the stage for a lot of the acrimony that surfaced between the Obama and Clinton campaigns in 2008. From the beginning, Barack Obama made it clear that he was not a member of the DLC and instead built his campaign on a new and improved version of Howard Dean’s bottom-up grassroots model. While Clinton continued to rely on big money donors, Obama showed that the presidency could be won by harnessing the power of millions of small donors – shattering the whole DLC model.
Via that primary and a win in November 2008, President Obama offered a way out of establishment big money politics. That is why I’ll be watching what happens in 2016. Can we find a way to preserve what Obama has done after he’s gone? Has Hillary Clinton learned anything from her defeat and her time with the President in the White House? Or will her candidacy take us back to the top-down big money model of the (now-defunct) DLC? And finally, if Clinton demonstrates that she hasn’t changed, is there someone who can pick up the mantle from Obama and continue his legacy?
If people really paid attention to our not-too-distant past, those are the questions we’d be asking.
I’m not sure exactly when it began, but a growing number of elected Republicans are extremely stupid. There is so much stupidity coming out of their mouths on a daily basis, it’s hard to keep up with it. One of the reasons I love Steve Benen from the Maddowblog is because he likes to keep track of and make fun of stupid Republicans. But he is much more respectful than I am.
Last week, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) got a little confused. During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the Iowa Republican read brief remarks in which he condemned the Obama administration for pushing a “court-packing” strategy in which the president would nominate judges to fill existing vacancies. [...]
I assumed at the time that this was an amusing-but-isolated misstep involving a Republican senator who routinely gets baffled by details. But I assumed wrong — this is apparently the new GOP talking point.
…Grassley isn’t alone in making these charges. During floor remarks last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) accused Democrats of plotting with the White House “to pack the D.C. Circuit with appointees,” and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) worried aloud that Democrats may “decide to play politics and seek — without any legitimate justification — to pack the D.C. Circuit with unneeded judges simply in order to advance a partisan agenda.”
Even The Wall Street Journal piled on last week, arguing in an editorial that the D.C. Circuit “doesn’t need new judges to handle the workload” and filling those vacant seats would be akin to “packing the court for political ends.”
Not to put too fine a point on this, but the argument is simply crazy. In the American system of government, it’s madness to suggest the president is doing something controversial when he nominates qualified jurists to fill vacancies on the federal bench.
It seems that the longer President Obama is in office, the more brazen Republicans get with their outright denial of his legitimacy. I imagine by the end of his second term, they will be bitching about him living in the White House or flying on Air Force One.
More from Steve Benen…
I hate to break this to Senate Republicans, but President Obama was elected — twice. Presidents submitting judicial nominations to the Senate to fill vacancies is pretty much the definition of normal presidential behavior. If the GOP finds this annoying, they’ll have to take it up with the Constitution.
Go read the entire piece, it goes into the dirty tricks Republicans are attempting to prevent President Obama from doing his job.
Listening to the PoliSciFiRadio podcast is one of my favorite things to do with my clothes on. Steve Benen, Bill Simmon and Emily Stoneking are a joy to listen to and of course, anyone who reads this blog knows that I pretty much worship Steve Benen as a political blogger. On a recent show, Steve pointed out that with the pick up in the economy, and thus increased revenues coming in, we will not hit the debt ceiling until much later in the summer. The GOP was counting on it in May or June and saw it as their leverage in the budget negotiations. Because you know, that’s how they roll these days.
Steve pointed to this great article from Greg Sargent at The Washington post that reveals this idiocy.
In today’s exercise in Fiscal Fraudulence, Republicans are making it clear they’ve decided they don’t want to enter into budget negotiations with Democrats until the debt ceiling deadline gets a good deal closer. ”The debt limit is the backstop,” Paul Ryan says. “I’d like to go through regular order and get something done sooner rather than later. But we need to get a down payment on the debt. We need entitlement reform.”
Greg Sargent quotes Kevin Drum, who sums it up pretty concisely.
Republicans are flatly refusing to even start budget negotiations until they can threaten default on the national debt if they don’t get their way. Apparently this is literally the only way they’re now willing to do business.
The even crazier part of this story is that the Republicans have already made it clear that they will not ever actually crash the economy with the debt ceiling threat. Greg Sargent sums up the whole mess pretty nicely.
It’s actually even crazier than Beutler and Drum say. Republicans are not willing to enter into fiscal negotiations without being able to wield the threat of crashing the economy to get their way — even as they have already revealed they are not willing to actually crash the economy to get their way. We already know Republicans are not willing to allow default. As you’ll recall, they caved during the last debt ceiling fight. More recently, John Boehner flatly admitted: “I’m not going to risk the full faith and credit of the federal government.” And Republicans are also set to vote on a bill (a nonstarter for Dems) that would allow Treasury to raise the debt ceiling just to pay off bondholders — with the goal of being able to continue demanding concessions in exchange for raising the debt limit while simultaneously avoiding default. That alone is yet another admission that Republicans are not willing to allow default to actually happen.
And so the GOP position, with no exaggeration, is this: Of course we’re not crazy and irresponsible enough to allow default to wreck the economy, but Democrats should pretend we are indeed crazy enough to do just that, so that we can win concessions from them in exchange for coming down (hint, hint, wink, wink) from the ledge.
The modern Republican Party has lost its way, we welcome all into the sane Democratic Party. Join us in sending the Republicans packing in 2014.
My apologies for the late posting of this podcast which was recorded on November 14, 2012. It’s still worth a listen, Republican stupidity hasn’t gone away, that’s for sure. We listen to and talk about the great rant that Rachel Maddow did on the day after the election plus lots of other good stuff. Give a listen.
This was recorded on November 8, 2012, two days after the election. It marks the return of my insightful friend and colleague John to chat it up about the historic day of November 6, 2012. Topics include: The Fox News meltdown, the fun of watching it on the tube, looking forward and many other things. It’s a good one.
This clip is all kinds of awesome. You may have seen it in other places, but if not, this is my gift to you. If Republicans were smart, and most aren’t, they would listen to Rachel’s advice. Take it away Rachel…
I couldn’t be more proud of this great country of America on this November 7, 2012. It is a monumental day in our history.
Personally, I’m not letting anyone rain on my parade today, any negativity will be greeted with a smile and positive words about our future.
My granddaughter wants to thank you for giving her a shot at a future – a Supreme Court that will protect her rights and a world where she has the same opportunities as men.
Another great discussion with one of my smart and liberal friends.
Running Time: 1:04:00
(Apologies for the sound quality, I pulled a rookie mistake. I’ve heard worse though. :)
I know a lot of people don’t obsess over politics like I do, so I thought I would try to boil things down to some basic points.
There is a clear choice in this election. If we just look at one thing about each candidate for president, the differences are obvious.
Both President Obama and Governor Romney graduated from Harvard University. What each did after leaving Harvard speaks volumes about their character.
Mitt Romney headed to Wall Street and procured funding for a business venture from some shady folks from Latin America. He built a business that specialized in raiding failing corporations, getting as much money as they can out of them and then liquidating the assets, firing the employees and moving on to the next victim. I found this breakdown of Bain’s business model that I think sums it up pretty good.
Bain Capital, under Romney’s leadership, had one goal: take the money and run. More specifically, their highly successful process goes like this:
- Take over a company
- Borrow millions against the assets
- Procure millions more in taxpayer funded grants and low-interest loans
- Put the millions in grants and loans in their pockets
- File for bankruptcy and hightail it out of town, asap
Kinda sleazy if you ask me…did you ask me?
Barack Obama could have headed to New York, Wall Street or anywhere he wanted to after serving as the president of the Harvard Law Review…kind of a nice resume piece, you know. But instead, he chose to go to Chicago and help people. Two years after leaving Harvard, he took a job with a church based organization called the Developing Communities Project, which was a group of Catholic charities formed to help people suffering through layoffs and plant closings in the Chicago area. The project went on to win many awards and help countless people in Chicago pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Barack Obama then went on to teach constitutional law and entered the state legislature where he began his career in politics, continuing his goal of helping people.
So yeah, there is a clear difference between President Obama and Governor Romney. I go with the guy who helps people, how about you?
There is no doubt that in the last week or more, the election has been breaking for President Obama. I don’t normally play the polling game, but as I’ve been saying for over a year, polls are only accurate when you get close to the actual election. Well folks, we’re close.
The awesome Michigander, Nate Silver, has been following all the ups and downs during the election and has developed a model that is comprehensive and relies on getting larger samples, thus more accurate results. He does what any statistician would do, adds them up and averages them. I had to laugh when I saw a quote from a Republican scoffing at the idea that he “averages” the polls.
In Ohio, where the rubber meets the road in this election, President Obama has been steadily climbing in damn near every poll taken in the last week. From Nate Silver…(emphasis mine)
Mr. Obama made gains in the FiveThirtyEight forecast on Tuesday, with his chances of winning the Electoral College increasing to 77.4 percent.
A fair amount of this boils down to Ohio, where three polls released on Tuesday gave Mr. Obama leads by margins ranging from three to five percentage points. Two of the polls, from Grove Research and the Mellman Group, generally show strong results for Democrats, which give them less impact in the forecast after applying our adjustment for pollster “house effects”. Still, the three polls taken collectively were enough to widen Mr. Obama’s projected lead in Ohio to 2.4 percentage points from 2.1 on Monday. Given how central Ohio is to each candidate’s electoral strategy — and how little time remains in the race — this was enough to improve Mr. Obama’s Electoral College chances. (The forecast does not yet account for the poll by Quinnipiac University for The New York Times and CBS News, which had Mr. Obama five points ahead in Ohio but which was released after we had run the model for the night.)
Today, November 1, Nate Silver currently has President Obama…as of 1:47 pm EST…with a 79% chance of winning the presidency and an estimated 300 electoral votes. It has been climbing all week long as poll after poll shows the gap widening between the president and Mitt Romney. Anyone who is honest with themselves can see that the President is widening his lead in the all important swing states. Republicans are having a hard time this week.
I totally understand how the Republicans feel, we Democrats have been through the same denial in 2004 and even some of us in 2010. It sucks having to rationalize and fool yourself into believing that you have a chance when all the signs are pointing the other way. It’s when “denialists” pull out the “momentum” arguments and the “tectonic shift” memes and go searching for the one poll that goes against the grain, clinging to it as if it were their blankie. I’ve been there, it sucks.
It’s been very odd, but not surprising, to watch the media continue to say “the race is tightening”, as Chuck Todd did this morning, even though the polls say otherwise. I tweeted him, of course, to point out his inconsistency and clear bias. I have a feeling ole Chuck isn’t one of my biggest fans.
So I’m excited, but cautious, going into the final weekend before the election on Tuesday. I never get too confident considering the fact that 59 million people voted to re-elect (or elect for the first time) George W. Bush in 2004. There are still a lot of dumb people (misinformed) in this country who have been getting their daily brainwashing from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the rest of the gang. The amount of misinformation in the public sphere as a direct result of that well oiled, Republican propaganda machine is very scary.
Just imagine how far ahead President Obama would be if the Republicans dealt in truth instead of lies or if the mainstream media had done their jobs and actually sorted out the truth for the public. I know, it’s a fantasy.
In light of the “Jeep lie” that Governor Romney has been using to scare workers in Ohio, I thought I’d take a look at the many other ads Romney has run that were also blatant lies.
Turns out, it’s all of them.
It’s quite a collection that Romney has accumulated over his time in the national spotlight. The 2012 presidential election will provide a lot of material for those of us who study the media and criticize it.
When the ad wars began, it was clear that the truth wasn’t going to play a major role in Mitt Romney’s advertising campaign. In his very first ad, Mitt Romney channeled Andrew Breitbart and just plucked a sentence out of a speech by President Obama and told a massive lie with it. Let the games begin…
Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has displayed a special level of shamelessness in its ads and attacks since its very first one, when it ran a clip of Barack Obama saying “if we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose”—a clip from 2008 when Obama was quoting an aide to then GOP nominee Sen. John McCain.
Here is the dishonest ad that became a pillar of the Republican convention in Tampa, the one where they plucked “you didn’t build that” out of a longer statement having to do with infrastructure like roads and bridges, which all American businesses use.
The Romney campaign has released an astonishingly deceptive new ad, containing a blatant, flat-out lie. The new ad actually edits together snippets of words and sentences to make it sound as if President Obama said something he did not say, and then attacks him for saying it.
Here is another example of Romney trying to twist a positive into a negative when the Obama campaign went to court to restore early voting for all of the people of Ohio after the Republican legislature passed laws restricting early voting for all but military personnel. The Republicans didn’t like how the African American churches loaded up their parishioners on buses and headed to the polls on the final Sunday before the election. So what the hell, they passed a law stopping it…because they could.
Mitt Romney wrongly suggests the Obama campaign is trying to “undermine” the voting rights of military members through a lawsuit filed in Ohio. The suit seeks to block state legislation that limited early voting times for nonmilitary members; it doesn’t seek to impose restrictions on service members.
The welfare lie was one of the big whoppers that the Romney campaign told and it received a lot of push back from the media, but that didn’t stop the Romney campaign from continuing to run it. This lie is something that 15 or 20 years ago would have made the media camp out in front of his mansion until he retracted it. But today, eh, just another day, nothing to see here.
The ad’s narrator says: “Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check.”
That’s a wild fabrication. As my colleague Isaiah J. Poole and I have both detailed, Obama’s HHS department merely heeded the concerns from a bipartisan group of governors and established a waiver program so states could experiment with different ways to help welfare recipients transition to work.
Another of the big lies being sold to the American people is the $716 billion lie. Romney and Ryan have told it in many different ways, but basically are trying to scare seniors into thinking that “Obamacare” cut $716 billion in benefits, which is not true at all.
In reality, the $716 billion is not a “cut” in benefits but rather the savings in costs that the Congressional Budget Office projects over the next decade from wholly reasonable provisions in the reform law.
One big chunk of money will be saved by reducing unjustifiably high subsidies to private Medicare Advantage plans that enroll many beneficiaries at a higher average cost than traditional Medicare. Another will come from reducing the annual increases in federal reimbursements to health care providers — like hospitals, nursing homes and home health agencies — to force the notoriously inefficient system to find ways to improve productivity. [...]
What the Republicans fail to say is that the budget resolutions crafted by Paul Ryan and approved by the Republican-controlled House retained virtually the same cut in Medicare.
Who can forget about the Solyndra lie where Romney tried to imply that the Obama administration steered contracts to friends and family.
“An independent inspector general looked at this investment and concluded that the Administration had steered money to friends and family and campaign contributors.”
Romney then repeated the claim later in the press conference.
Small problem: No inspector general ever “concluded” such a thing, at least not based on any written reports or public statements.
When you consider the above and the great work that Steve Benen has been doing at “Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity” at the Maddowblog, it all adds up to the most brazenly dishonest campaign that has ever been known. Historians will be busy for quite a while parsing the piles and piles of lies left behind by Romney and his cynical, manipulative, soulless campaign team.
I began this post yesterday and after just visiting the Maddowblog to see what Mr. Benen was writing today, I noticed he has a similar post up where he looks at just the ads Romney has run since the 3rd debate. I’m pasting a bit of it below, but go read the whole thing.
I went through the Romney campaign’s website and YouTube channel, and found that Team Romney has unveiled six English-language television ads since the third and final debate with President Obama last week, an average of nearly one per day.
I’m not cherry picking the offensive ads built around falsehoods; I’m merely listing all of the ads Romney has unveiled since the third debate.
This isn’t normal. It’s also not healthy for our democracy. Mitt Romney — who keeps telling reporters about how great his “momentum” is — has reached some kind of Peak Lying moment in which he spews falsehoods at an almost uncontrollable pace.
This segment below by Rachel Maddow, Steve Benen’s boss, gets to the heart of what has been going on in this election. Watch it, share it and let’s all hope that the 2012 election is an anomaly.
Cross posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
If you are tired of watching pundits playing “both sides” and revealing their conservative biases, check out our little podcast where we say it like it is and delve into topics you won’t hear anywhere else. Listen, enjoy!
Here is the latest Extremely Liberal podcast with my special guest, a colleague who teaches a class on politics and the media. He brings great insight and experience to our discussion. Check it out, I bet you will like it.