The level of disrespect being shown towards President Obama is unprecedented and has to stop. It comes in both blatant and subtle ways and there are many reasons for it. Anyone who is honest with themselves knows that a lot of it stems from the color of his skin. Not all of it, for sure, but a whole hell of a lot of it. We all remember the signs from the Tea Party asking for their country back…back from what, you motherfuckers, the man won a clear victory in a democratic election with a wide electoral margin. President Obama IS the leader or OUR country, all of us, even you racist assholes…whether you like it or not.
One of the latest examples of this disrespect was covered very well by Joy Reid at The Reid Report. I’ll let her explain it…
Republicans derive a benefit from their base by disrespecting the president.
The GOP base wants its leadership to not just oppose Barack Obama, but to go out of its way to obstruct, block, and if at all possible, show open contempt and disrespect for him. Republicans understand that their base will punish them for any hint of respectful, or worse, accommodating behavior toward Obama, and that they will be rewarded by their base for elevating the level of negative attention they give the president.
Today’s Republicans, who have been overrun by a hardcore tea party faction in addition to the resurgent religious right, have made the calculation that there is literally no bottom — and no level of disrespect so great that they will pay a price with white independents.
Case in point: before House Speaker Boehner took the unprecedented step of publicly brushing back the president’s request to address a joint session of Congress next Wednesday, he was being egged on to do just that by none other than Rush Limbaugh. That Boehner decided to puff out his chest on this one is telling.
Of course, that is just one example of the clear disrespect shown towards our President. And the Republicans are playing it out to the full extent, with some legislators openly saying they won’t attend the jobs speech and don’t even want to hear what the President has to say. The adult equivalent of holding your hands over your ears and saying, na na na na, I cant’ hear you! I hope all those people without jobs are paying attention to the “Party of No New Jobs”.
But if that isn’t enough, apparently the hater of everyone, Matt Taibbi, doesn’t want to hear it either. The more I read about Taibbi, the more I realize that he just says whatever the hell comes to his hateful mind. I found this piece where Taibbi predicted a McCain presidency…showing his willingness to just say stupid shit with no basis in reality. But I digress.
Fellow liberals — listen up. President Obama and the Democratic Party are looking great going into 2012. Don’t let the media or our opponents on both the right and the faux left discourage you, that is their goal. The media wants every election to be close, it increases their ratings and we all know that is the only thing they care about anymore. Journalism, shmournalism! And of course the Teapublicans aren’t even living in the same reality as the rest of the country, they are running around chasing phantom problems that don’t really exist and holding prayer rallies.
As I always remind myself heading into an election year, 95% or more of the American people don’t pay a damn bit of attention to what is happening in politics until the conventions and debates start up. Sure, the hard core party folks are engaged in the primaries, but we know how many people actually vote in the primaries. The real fun doesn’t start until next summer, when people will begin to pay attention. Most everything that happens until then, will never even be seen or heard by that 95% of people who are going to work, playing softball, going to the beach, camping, going for bike rides and just hanging around the porch talking about bullshit. More of these people are aware of what Snookie did in Italy than anything that is happening in Washington.
So I say to you fellow liberals, don’t get bogged down in the heat of the moment. Don’t let current perceptions and media generated memes get you down or affect your motivation. We have an ace in the hole, President Barack Obama. Anyone who doubts his political abilities is fucking stupid, if you ask me. And when you consider all the stupid shit the Teapublican’s have done over the last 2 and 1/2 years that will be used as ammunition against them — once the campaigns get rolling in earnest, it’s going to be fun as hell to watch. The President has given us a taste of it in the last few weeks, but wait until he gets going.
When people try to get you to play the negative meme game or the “woe is me, I didn’t get my pony game” — be polite, cite some facts, some accomplishments, but mostly stay positive and remember that if the pundits were right, President George H.W. Bush would have served a second term.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
President Obama was in Alpha, Illinois yesterday on the last leg of his mini bus tour and once again, he proves why he is the president and everyone else isn’t. Early on in the speech, he reminded people of exactly what he inherited on January 21, 2009.
Obviously we’ve been going through as tough of a time as we’ve seen in my lifetime and in most people’s lifetimes these last two and a half years. We went through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. When I took office we had already lost 4 million jobs and we lost another 4 million just in the few months right after I took office. And we’ve been fighting our way back over the last two and half months — or last two and a half years.
We were on the verge of going into a Great Depression, and we were able to yank ourselves out. The economy is now growing again. Over the last 17 months we’ve created over 2 million jobs in the private sector. We saved an auto industry that was on the brink. (Applause.) We have — we’ve made investments in clean energy, in rebuilding our roads and our bridges.
We just recently learned that during that period, we were much worse off than what the former Bush administration was telling us as they left office. Considering how bad our economy actually was and all the hurdles put in the path of Democrats who were trying to fix it, it is astounding to me that we have recovered as well as we have. It isn’t that long ago, really, but it certainly has been forgotten about by the “baggers” of Tea and Fire. They have agendas that have nothing to do with moving forward. The President, as always, is looking to the future and how we can create more jobs…
So the question is, what do we do going forward? Look, even though private sector job growth is good, we’ve still got a long way to go before we put everybody back to work. We need to go ahead and act right now on some proposals that are before Congress, ready to be voted on. We should extend the payroll tax cut that we passed in December, put $1,000 in the typical family’s pocket — we need to extend that into next year. (Applause.) Because if you’ve got more money in your pockets, that means businesses have more customers, they’re more likely to hire. There’s no reason why we can’t do that right now.
There’s no reason why, as Ray LaHood knows, we’ve got over $2 trillion worth of repairs that need to be made around the country, and I know there are some right here in this county and right here in this state. And we’ve got a lot of construction workers that are out of work when the housing bubble went bust, and interest rates are low, and contractors are ready to come in on time, under budget — this is a great time for us to rebuild our roads and our bridges, and locks in the Mississippi, and our seaports and our airports. We could be doing that right now, if Congress was willing to act. (Applause.)
Right now, we could pass trade deals that we negotiated that not only have the support of business, but have the support of the UAW. That doesn’t happen very often. And the reason is, is because folks know that not only is that good for agricultural America — opening up markets, because we’ve got the best farmers in the world — but it’s also good for manufacturing. There are a whole bunch of Kias and Hyundais being driven around here; that’s great. But I want some Fords and Chevys being driven in Korea. (Applause.) We should pass that bill right now.
The President is out in the country, rallying people around liberal ideas and liberal policy. He is doing his part to advance these ideas and get support from the public. I wonder what the Professional Left has been up to for the last couple of days. Keep it up, Mr. President, the truth will set them free.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
- Andrew Sabl at The Washington Monthly caught this little gem from my buddy Paul Krugman
- I found this amusing, Jane Hamsher shows us once again why she is not qualified to represent anyone on television, especially the left.
- This is a great summation of the craziness that is happening with some on the left in regards to President Obama.
- I’ve been observing “concern trolling” for a while in our politics and found this great explanation of it from the wiseGEEK.
- Booman tells a very real, scary story about what could very well could happen in the United States if the separation between the rich and poor continues to grow.
- Here is a great post from April that I missed on Joan Walsh of Salon.com and her issues with race.
- Thanks to The People’s View for taking on one more professor who is trying to rewrite history to fit with their preconceived notions about President Obama.
And finally, here is a Youtube clip I came across that reminds me why only a damn fool would run against President Obama in a primary. And it is very revealing of the people who are now turning on the president, ones who never were supporters.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, go to 25:00 on the timeline.
I listen to the podcast of Real Time with Bill Maher and I have to give him credit for inviting some good guests from time to time, but unfortunately he also gives platforms to people like Andrew Breitbart and Ann Coulter to spread their hateful messages. In Episode 218, available at iTunes, the first 20 minutes or so was pretty good, because it seems like every false meme that Bill spewed was shot down pretty quickly by his guests. He was unusually wrong that night.
He repeated a line that is vintage Bill Maher, catchy, clever, but completely wrong. Here it is…
It would be kind of a tragedy if we got to the end of four years of Democratic rule without having really tried any Democratic policies. – Bill Maher
I’m sure that line appealed to the “where’s my pony” crowd, but for people who are paying attention to more than just the negative spin coming from the loudest voices in the libertarian wing, it is obviously complete horseshit. I’m not referring to Hamsher, Greenwald, Adam Green, Huffington, Moulitsas or the rest of those folks as the left anymore. Anyone who helps Republicans get elected and damages the Democratic Party in our two-party system, doesn’t deserve to hang with us on the left.
Let me help Bill Maher with some reality. First, is it “Democratic Rule” when Republican’s have forced a super-majority of 60 votes on every bill that comes into the Senate chamber? Is it “Democratic Rule” when every single fucking bill that comes before the congress has an ultimatum attached to it by any number of Senators, each of whom can filibuster without even having to drag their lazy asses to the Senate floor? And of course, since 2010, when many who are listed above were either openly telling Democrats to stay home or implying it, Republicans have had control of the House of Representatives, which in case Bill didn’t know, actually writes the bills and appropriates the money. Is that “Democratic Rule” Maher?
He then goes on to say “without having really tried any Democratic policies”, which is the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever heard. He dismisses the Affordable Care Act because it didn’t include the public options or a single payer system, neither of which would have any chance of getting even enough Democratic support. The ACA was the most liberal, “Democratic” legislation to pass since Civil Rights in the 60′s. If that isn’t trying Democratic policies for your ass, I don’t know what is.
Click Read More for the rest of the post!
Being the political junkie that I am, I have had the opportunity to see Mark Halperin offer his opinion and “political analysis” countless times. He certainly isn’t always wrong, in my opinion, but a lot of the time when I hear his take on things, I end up scratching my head and thinking, whaaa? Many times I’ll even do the *face palm* or the *head desk*. As far as his bias to the right, it has been obvious to me for years. After what happened on Thursday with Mr. Halperin, I decided to do a little research and was reminded of some previous “gaffes”, shall we say. There is a clear pattern with Halperin.
When President Obama was filling a Supreme Court vacancy, Mark Halperin actually went with this title for a story, which can’t be found now…
There is just so much wrong with that. First, of all the angles to take on the story of picking our next Supreme Court justice, his is the perceived “reverse discrimination” (a racists dream phrase) against poor white men. Because over the years, you know, white men have had such a hard time getting on the Supreme Court. I’m sure he thinks it is just innocent “pointing out the obvious”, but you know damn well that the audience for that statement was all the good ole boys who pit themselves against minorities as if everything is zero-sum. It is a not-so-subtle dog whistle to all the racists and classists in our country. It is a blatant appeal to the Fox News viewers, which have large numbers. There is more on the reason for that later on in this post.
Here is an example of Mark Halperin’s analyst skills and his unique perspective on things, to put it way too politely. This is Mark Halperin’s reaction to President Obama’s 2010 State of the Union address.
What is funny is that if you look at polls of people who watched the speech, it becomes apparent that Mark Halperin sees things differently than ordinary folks. From CBS New’s Political Hotsheet…
Of the randomly selected 522 speech viewers questioned by CBS, 83 percent said they approved of the proposals the President made. Just 17 percent disapproved…
Six in 10 of those asked said they thought Mr. Obama conveyed a clear plan for creating jobs, and seven in 10 said his plans for the economy will help ordinary Americans. Another seven in 10 said President Obama has the same priorities for the country as they have.
The same individuals were interviewed both before and after Wednesday’s State of the Union, and after the speech, 70 percent said Mr. Obama shares their priorities for the country, up from 57 percent before the speech.
Did you notice how he called him “this troubled president” as if that is the conventional wisdom of the day. It certainly was the wisdom that Halperin and other skewed journalists were trying to push, thank goodness Media Matters for America is around to sort out the truth for us.
Here is another list of the accomplishment of President Obama through November of 2009, not even a year into his presidency. Does that look like “a troubled president” to you?
I saw this next one live, back when I used to torture myself by watching Morning Joe. It was after the President invited Republican leaders, including Paul Ryan, to a speech where the President laid out his budget and took on the draconian, now much abandoned Paul Ryan plan. After listening to Paul Ryan and other Republicans touting his plan, using everything in their arsenal to twist and spin the plan as bold, the President laid waste to it. Apparently Mark Halperin took it personally and proceeded to defend those poor Republicans who were called out on their assault on the poor and seniors. First, let’s take a look at what the President said that upset Halperin and Scarborough, from The Media Research Center…
BARACK OBAMA: This vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America . . . Ronald Reagan’s own budget director said there’s nothing serious or courageous about this plan . . . There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. And I don’t think there’s anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill . . . That’s not a vision of the America I know.
Here is what Halperin and Scarborough said on Morning Joe in response to that passage from the President’s speech…
MARK HALPERIN: I think if a Republican president called the Democratic proposals on something like this un-American, I think the press would be up in arms.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: They would savage him.
HALPERIN: They would be up in arms. I think that kind of rhetoric: for the president to say, that what Paul Ryan is doing is not consistent with his vision of America, I think that’s rhetoric that only added insult, injury to the insult of inviting him to sit in the front row.
SCARBOROUGH: Republicans have said a lot of really, really tough things about Barack Obama. Really tough things. So, it’s not even the words, it’s not the rhetoric. I think the president does believe that the Ryan plan is not the America that he grew up in or the America he wants. I’m just saying, for negotiating reasons, why invite him to sit in the front row and say that his budget is not serious and is un-American when Paul Ryan’s been fighting his entire life for this?
HALPERIN: I totally agree. It seems like a weird decision to make.
Now, maybe these two boneheads were sleeping during the 8 years of President (with us or against us) Bush, but I doubt it. They both clearly spend most of their time defending the Republican brand and trying to convince people of liberal media bias and false equivalencies. In this post, warning, it’s a Huffington Post article, he blames President Obama for Republican opposition to the stimulus. Amazing.
Mark Halperin believes that there is a liberal bias in the media and is doing his part to swing the pendulum back to the right. It is just one more example of how absurd his thinking is. That pendulum swung to the right immediately after the horrible events of 9/11 and it’s been stuck there ever since. The Bush cabal did a masterful job of using a national tragedy to cow the media into doing it’s bidding. Wrapping everything they did in patriotism and daring the press to go against them. I remember it clearly, but apparently Mark Halperin was sleeping through all that.
Does anyone else see a pattern – President Obama stands up to Republicans and the media narrative and Mark Halperin is offended and jumps to the defense of those poor, poor Republican’s who are so cordial and nice in their rhetoric. There are many more examples of Halperin’s misguided rhetoric, but who has the time to go through all of it. I just wonder if Time magazine is really willing to offend so many people who support President Obama by continuing to employ this man who has proven his bias and terrible analyst skills Time and Time again.
REPOSTED IN FULL FROM PCTC (Please Cut The Crap) - written by Milt Shook
When all is said and done, if you want to know why the politics in what should be a liberal country such as the United States has been dominated for 30 years by people who should be situated on the fringe, if you’re on the far left, look in the mirror. If not, look at the far left.
A quick perusal of the leftist “blogosphere” shows people who like to spout facts and figures, and who obsess over everything that happens, as if they’re doing play-by-play for a baseball game. But they seem to neither know nor care about the average person, and they definitely lack understanding of basic politics. It’s amazing how little they know, yet they act like experts, despite the fact that the only people who actually buy their bullshit are like-minded people who are gullible.
Yes, folks; a lot of the far left is JUST LIKE the far right in that way.
Most actual liberals are very cool, and not very dumb, politically speaking. The liberal side of the aisle encompasses a wide array of different types of people, with different types of experiences. The denizens of the far left are almost all white, they’re almost never poor and they have college educations. They have very little contact with any of the people they claim to be advocating for, yet to listen to them, they know more about being poor or being a minority than the poor and minorities do.
The liberal side of the political debate has been sitting on the sidelines for the better part of 40 years, primarily because a very noisy segment of our ideology is ruining it for the rest of us. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m sick of it. It’s time we taught basic politics to the far left.
Consider this is politics 101, folks.
Lesson #1: We live in a democratic republic, in which the person who gets the most votes wins and gets to make policy.
I know that sounds a little too basic, but let’s face it; for a bunch of political “experts,” many on the far left seems to be constantly shocked and surprised when assholes get elected and do pretty much what they said they would do. Every government in this country runs by majority rule; he or she who gets the majority of votes gets to make the rules. If you want the government to enact laws, regulations and policies that help working people, the poor and downtrodden, or if you want a universal health care plan that covers everyone 100%, you absolutely have to see to it that the person elected in each race is one who is oriented to listen to what the people want, and do as much as they can. Of course, there is a second part to that equation:
Lesson #2: In order to get a progressive government, you need a progressive populace.
Again, this should have been part of the Civics curriculum in everyone’s fourth grade class. Majority rules, so if you want progressive laws passed, you need a progressive majority. That means changing the hearts and minds of the people out there. That doesn’t mean screaming at them and telling them what they should believe and writing them off as “stupid” when they don’t think exactly the way you do. It means listening to them, then framing the issues in such a way that makes them want to be on our side. “Climate change” is an abstract concept to most people, and the fact that it is does not make everyone who thinks of it that way “stupid.” And the fact that they take an abstract view of “climate change” doesn’t mean they wouldn’t like to drive a vehicle that is safe for them and their children and gets 200 miles per gallon, or one that doesn’t use gas at all. Most people would willingly switch their electricity provider to a clean energy company, as long as it didn’t mean the cost would double. On other issues, even if they’re against abortion in principle, most folks aren’t in favor of the government forcing a woman to stay pregnant against her will. And let’s clear up one thing; most swing voters don’t care about anyone’s stance on most individual issues.
It’s this simple, folks. If you want the politics in this country to move left, you have to move the electorate left. Which leads us to:
Lesson #3: Until there are at least 218 progressive districts in this country, ousting “Blue Dogs” is not a source of pride; it’s just plain stupid.
Many on the far left seem to be enormously immature, in that they want their political change to happen immediately. they’re like the rich kids who “only” got a Mercedes for graduation, when they wanted the Jaguar. Real people have to earn their reward, folks; no one gets anything without tons of blood and sweat.
After more than 30 years of neocon-driven politics, why would anyone be surprised that there are a large number of conservative-leaning districts out there? Yet, a large number of far-left “progressives” were actually crowing at the “silver lining” in the 2010 election results; that about half of all “Blue Dog” Democrats lost. Yes, that’s right; they were HAPPY. Nancy Pelosi was replaced by an orange Boner, the committee chairs all went from being progressive Democrats to being right wing Republicans. We went from having a House of Representatives that passed hundreds of relatively progressive bills to one that has repeatedly tried to kill Medicare and damage Social Security.
And do you know WHY this happened? In part, it’s because about 25 “Blue Dogs,” almost all of whom voted with Democrats at least 80% of the time, were replaced by right wing Republicans and teabaggers.
Does that sound like “progress” to you? Really? If you do, then you must be one of those geniuses who thinks both major parties are the same. And that leads to:
Lesson #4: No matter how many times you tell yourself this, there is NO SIMILARITY between the two political parties at this point in time.
Many on the far left love to quote Harry Truman, who once said, “Given a choice between a Democrat who acts like a Republican or a Republican, the people will always choose the Republican.”
Gosh, that’s catchy. The problem is, he said it nearly 65 years ago, and the Republican party has changed a lot since then. Back then, the two parties saw each other as “the loyal opposition.” Nowadays, the current incarnation of the Republican Party sees Democrats as “the enemy.” They have declared war on the poor, and will do everything they can to help the rich get richer. the current GOP happily puts party politics ahead of country, which is something most Republicans in Truman’s day rarely did.
if you can’t see a difference between how Republicans and Democrats run things right now, then sit down and shut up, because you’re not paying attention. if you can even imagine Democrats proposing gutting Medicare, trying to kill unions, repealing health insurance reform, and cutting programs for the poor to pay for tax cuts for the rich, then you belong under a doctor’s care. If you can imagine Republicans restoring regulations on Wall Street financial activities, demanding that executives limit their pay as long as they were under obligation to the federal government for bailout money, or even demanding that Wall Street even pay back the funds, then have the doctor up your meds.
The two parties couldn’t be more stark in their differences these days, and the constant attempts by many on the far left to characterize them as the same are absolutely killing us, politically speaking. Swing voters HATE teabaggers as much as the rest of us. They can’t stand right wing Republican policies, for the most part. They don’t care that much about tax cuts. They like most social programs, although they’d like to see more done to combat waste, fraud and abuse. And frankly, they do care about the environment and ending wars, even if they do so more in the abstract. In other words, they’re our natural friends, politically speaking. So, the more the far left screams at the top of their lungs that “both parties are the same,” the more they poison that well, and allow the far right to keep winning elections. Which brings us to:
Lesson #5: Politics is a game of strategy, but some strategies simply don’t work, like “fighting.”
It’s important to get the right people elected, but it’s just as important to get the wrong people out of government. While governing affects the average person’s life in profound ways, politics itself is a game, and requires a very distinct, and very long-term strategy.
A lot of left wingers think political strategy is really complicated, and involves something really elaborate, but it’s really not. In fact, if it’s too complicated, it’s destined for failure. Personally, I think some lefties like to think of it as complicated because they think it makes them seem smarter. They would be mistaken. If you’re running a campaign, politics is complicated. If you’re not doing that, then my advice for you is to relax. The issues many far lefties consider to be important issues are only a minor consideration to the majority of voters who will decide any election. The vast majority of swing voters are struggling to get by every day, and they want to know the people in charge won’t make things worse; that’s pretty much it. Therefore, the number one strategy of any political endeavor begins with the classic “KISS,” or “Keep It Simple Stupid.”
And while you’re at it, stop itching for a “fight.”
I know many far lefties LOVE the idea of a “fight,” but the fact of the matter is, most “fighting,” at least as the left wing envisions it, is really bad strategy. Much of the far left thinks the definition of a politician “fighting for them” means shouting, grandstanding and making pointed speeches and calling the opposition “poopy-heads.”
The problem is, that’s not how real politicians “fight” in a democracy. The purpose of electing politicians is to pass laws designed to make our lives better. That means writing a bill, then getting a majority to vote for that bill. Now, seriously; how far do you think they’d get in doing that if they were running around making fools of themselves by grandstanding and making the opposition party look bad? You may imagine that most voters sit around staring at C-SPAN all day, waiting for something great to cheer about, but trust me on this; YOU lefties are the only one doing that.
There are a number of ways to “fight” in politics, and most Democratic politicians do exactly that on a daily basis, especially President Obama. This guy is a master at outmaneuvering the opposition. For example, the far left screams bloody murder every time Obama reaches out to the Republicans. This is because they are so obsessed with everything he does, but can’t see the result. The political center – again, those who actually decide elections – HATE infighting in the government. They want to see politicians working toward solutions. When he does that, what those voters see is someone who is trying to do the right thing, and an opposition that wants to bite his hand off for doing so. He’s actually courting voters to his side by doing that. he’s not “kowtowing” or “caving,” he’s actually working for the progressive cause.
I’m sick of hearing the words “bully pulpit” used as an example of how the President could “fight” for the people. That phrase is even older than the irrelevant Truman quote. It was coined by Teddy Roosevelt more than a century ago, and if you haven’t noticed, our political discourse is dominated, in part, by the far right wing, who use bribery and intimidation against those in their own party to keep them in line. We need to develop strategies to keep them from doing that.
Watch President Obama’s RESULTS, not his methods. As long as he’s not sacrificing animals or children in the process, there’s no reason to examine the details of every step of the methods he uses to get results; look at the results themselves. The far left is nearly psychotic in its obsession with every single detail of everything Obama does, and it’s getting a little tiresome.
For example, if you want to know why we lost the “public option” (and a few other, more important features that lefties barely notice), look in the mirror. Because of the nature of his opposition, Obama actually kept the “public option” alive longer by NOT advocating for it. For Chrissakes, folks; he single-handedly revived health care reform, after the far left had declared it dead and buried.
Overall, his strategy on health care was nothing short of perfect, which is why it passed for the first time ever. I know a large portion of the left was devoted to the notion of a “public option,” but reality is, if the Republicans had Obama on record as saying “The public option is a must” for a health insurance reform bill in the current climate, the GOP would have gathered the troops together and used that statement to launch a billion-dollar campaign against Obama’s attempt to force “socialized medicine” down our throats. It would have made it even more difficult to pass than it was, and it might have killed any sort of reform for at least another 10-15 years.
Another example is the consternation over Obama’s refusal to come out absolutely in favor of “gay marriage” last week. If you don’t see him as “sly,” you don’t really know all that much about politics. He HAS declared repeatedly his belief that gay couples should have the same rights as everyone else; he’s just not going to go on record but that wasn’t enough for many on the far left. But let me tell you what would happen if the current president of the United States would come out in favor of gay marriage. You know the split that’s happening between the nuts and the extreme nuts in the Republican Party? Kiss that goodbye. That would crystallize the opposition, and they would have a common theme to run against in the next election.
And here’s the important thing to remember about all of this. The president has no say with regard to marriage. Marriages are state devices, not federal. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if he is in favor of it or not, one way or the other. While some of you have a fantasy that the president says something and tens of millions of people will suddenly throw their hands up and say, “Oh YES! He’s right! I have to give up everything I have ever been taught by my religion and accept gays as equals!” But in the real world we live in, presidents don’t have that influence. Bush said the Iraq war was a war for freedom; did his statement to that effect make it so? if things Bush said didn’t move the populace, even when his job approval was 80%, why would you imagine Obama’s would be?
President Obama realizes that he has to pick and choose his battles, and that HOW he fights the battles matters. He’s getting more stuff done than anyone in the last 40 years or more, and the far left in this country is sitting around with their thumbs up their asses, waiting for someone else to “lead them” to where they need to go. Which is how we get to:
Lesson #6: “We are the ones we have been waiting for” is not just a cute slogan; it’s how the system works, and how we win at politics.
If you’re waiting for a savior to come along and bring the left out of the desert into the political system, then you’re part of the problem.
The fact of the matter is, politicians do not lead us, WE lead THEM. I understand why people on the right don’t get that, because they’re politically brain-dead. But a lot of far lefties seem to miss out on that concept, too.
They’re called “representatives” for a reason. THEY stand in for US, not the other way around. it’s OUR job to tell them what we want and give them the tools to do that. It’s not THEIR job to read our minds. And our number one job is to get a majority people behind our efforts; it’s not the politician’s job. Political success involves a couple of steps, and both of them are OUR responsibility as voters. First, we have to honor the democratic process and try to make sure the choice of candidate most likely to result in the policies we want. That doesn’t mean we always have a clear progressive choice; in fact, it rarely means that. But there is often one candidate who will absolutely NOT vote for our side EVER, and we absolutely must promote the best candidate to the best of our ability. Then, once the best of the two candidates is elected, we then SUPPORT them. Yes, I said SUPPORT! For some unknown reason, many on the far left seem to think the constant complaining about politicians constitutes “holding them accountable,” but if you’re on the job and your boss was complaining about every little thing you did, without even evaluating the results, would you dismiss it was your boss “holding you accountable,” or would it just irritate the crap out of you?
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Now you know why politicians don’t take the far left seriously at all. They’re constantly whining, they don’t vote reliably, and their support is based on what politicians say, not what they do. Politicians are looking for support, not a constant shrill whine. Which brings us to:
Lesson #7: The far left’s concept of “principle” is downright bizarre and often detrimental to progressive politics.
This will be a short one.
It’s really simple; it’s been 32 years, and the neocons are still in office, and still dismantling the mechanisms we built back in the first quarter-century after the war. Despite the fact that we know how to fix the economy, because we did it before, the wingnuts are still pushing the same tired crap they’ve been pushing for 30 years. And they get away with it because a large portion of the left side of the political debate likes to SAY they have principle, but they really don’t. The fact of the matter is, supporting someone who says everything you want to here, when that person has neither the intention nor the ability to actually get into office and do what he or she is saying makes you gullible, not principled.
If you want to claim to be a principled progressive, then you will do anything to move us in the direction of achieving social justice. That doesn’t mean backing Dennis Kucinich, who apparently has to move to Washington to continue in Congress because of redistricting, and who has less than a snowball’s chance in hell of ever sitting in the Oval Office. It means doing whatever you can to see to it that as many politicians as possible are amenable to working toward making this country better, and then working to make sure they have the support they need to do that. if you have actual principles, stop screaming at the politicians, and start educating (without screaming) their constituents. If you’re not doing everything you can to make sure progressive policies are put in place, you’re not principled. Which brings us to:
Lesson #8: The overall meme if the debate is far more important than playing micro-politics.
Imagine you’re about the leave work, and you’re wondering whether or not you should take your umbrella. So you ask a co-worker if they think it might rain. Which answer are you likely to consider most helpful?
“According to the weather service, it’s not supposed to rain until Friday.”
“I don’t know, but I do know the air is dirtier now than it was 20 years ago, the sun is much harsher than it used to be, and the world will probably become uninhabitable in 10 years.”
The first one is how the left SHOULD answer. Unfortunately, the answers to political questions coming from our side usually sound like the second answer. Many on the far left tend to be news junkies, which is a stupid idea in and of itself. You don’t become smarter by watching nothing but news all of the time. But worse, they seem to think everyone else is, or should be, a news junkie as well. So they neither answer political questions nor give political answers that actually matter to people.
The average voter doesn’t have time to sit and watch news all day, because he or she is working for a living. They are struggling to get by. They don’t sit and watch every single bloody thing the government does, because they trust the government to do what it needs to do. You aren’t smarter because you don’t trust the government, and you watch and analyze every move they make. If you were smarter, you would know that the majority of the voters who matter only pay attention to the overall meme in any election. they responded by voting for Barack Obama because of his positive message and his promise to reverse the incompetence of the Bush years. And they stayed away from the polls in droves in 2010, because the overall message of that election was “Democrats suck.” They don’t vote for the right wing, for the most part, because they see them as dipshits. But when both sides are screaming “Democrats suck!” what message do you imagine these folks take away from the “debate,” such as it is?
Let me put this another way. If you’re sitting in the park at lunch, and two people are screaming at the top of their lungs, which one do you listen to? If you’re honest, then you know you put on your iPod really loud and drown them out. If you don’t have an iPod, then you look for another place to sit. You don’t listen to either of them.
On the other hand, if one guy is screaming something at the top of his lungs, and someone else comes up and sits on the bench next to you and starts speaking to you pleasantly, you might actually converse with that person, won’t you? You may even turn off the iPod and listen to what he or she has to say. And depending on the person speaking, you may actually learn something.
That’s how politics works, folks. When both sides are screaming at each other, no one who matters is actually listening. The far right will always scream, because they’re incredibly stupid, and because they don’t understand how politics works, either. Their side has a simple-minded affinity for red meat over substance; they love the negative. They love anything that makes “the left” look bad. They have no desire to convince you they’re right, and you will never convince them you’re right. Therefore, when you and a right winger are screaming at each other, the people who matter are walking away from you, or drowning you out.
How many elections do we have to lose before we get this. The far left was negative about Carter in 1980, and we got Reagan. The far left was negative about Dukakis in 1988, we got Bush 41. We were positive about Clinton in 1992, he won. The far left bashed Gore mercilessly in 2000 and refused to get behind Kerry in 2004, leaving us with a double dose of the worst president in history. In 2008, the left finally seemed to shed its stupidity and got behind a moderate, and we elected Obama overwhelmingly. Since then, it’s been quite clear that many on the far left voted for “the black guy,” and attributed a level of far left politics to President Obama that was never actually apparent during the campaign. Because of these fantasy expectations, they’ve branded him as a “disappointment,” and that played a major part in depressed turnout that led to a right wing win. Again.
That leads to”:
Lesson #9: The people who are elected will (almost) always represent the political center.
It has always been the case, and it will always be the case, that the majority of voters anywhere will choose someone they perceive as between the extremes. The only exception to that rule comes when one side of the political spectrum trashes mercilessly the candidate to whom they are closest, ideologically speaking. We saw this exception in both 2000 and 2004, when the far left sabotaged the campaigns of Al Gore and John Kerry, and essentially handed the elections to Bush. (And please, don’t talk to me about Bush stealing the two elections, because they shouldn’t have been that close in the first place.)
But most of the time, the person elected will represent the political center, especially when it comes to president. FDR didn’t run or govern as a political liberal at all. In fact, with the exception of reforming banking and instituting a few jobs programs, he took a relatively conservative approach to getting out of the Depression. Even he admitted that later, when the massive deficit spending to pay for World War II finally brought us into recovery mode and sent unemployment down below 10% for the first time in more than a dozen years. Lincoln didn’t run for election promising to make the Emancipation Proclamation and amend the Constitution to be anti-slavery. Likewise, Kennedy didn’t run on promising the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts would pass. As is always the case, moderates are forced by circumstances to become progressives.
That’s why the constant demeaning of the “Blue Dogs” last year was without a doubt the most politically tone-deaf thing the far left has championed in many, many years. I’m still working on a post on this, but suffice it to say, if you’re one of those politically idiotic fools who praised the loss of about half of all Blue Dogs in 2010, then you are part of the problem. All of the Blue Dogs who lost last year voted with Democrats most of the time – the lowest percentage I found was 67%, and only two of them voted with Democrats less than 8o% of the time – and they were ALL replaced by Republicans who will NEVER vote with the Democrats. EVER.
In what way is that “progressive”?
I would also point out that even the most progressive politicians in our history lack ideological purity. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus. FDR refused to even consider civil rights or abolishing Jim Crow. Even Dennis Kucinich was anti-choice for many years, based on his Catholicism. If not for Ted Kennedy’s ego, we probably would have had the beginnings of universal health care before 1980, instead of 30 years later because he killed a bill in order to get a leg up on Carter in the 1980 election.
The main complaint most left wingers have about Democrats has to do with their relative “impurity.” For some reason, they have gotten it into their little brains that all Democrats should represent the progressive side of things, and that any variation whatsoever is unacceptable. That’s a fantasy, folks. No one is always “left” or always “right” on every single issue, unless he or she is incapable of thought. Expecting everyone to adhere to your standard of what a “true progressive” should be is unrealistic and frankly, politically suicidal.
Those are my lessons for today. I will add more lessons as I think of them. And I will think of them.
For the record, I didn’t support either the Afghanistan or Iraqi Wars and still don’t “support” any war. They are against what I believe in, peace, love and understanding. But I also live in reality and realize that once we’ve created a mess, we can’t just walk away without at least attempting to clean it up. At this point, I feel like I need to remind anyone on the right or left who was sleeping during the Bush Administration that President Bush started those two foolish ventures, NOT President Obama. It’s unfortunate that I have to remind people of that, but with so much revisionist history and subtle meme generation going on, I feel it’s necessary.
The head-in-the-sand critics on the left who seem to blame President Obama for everything, whether he was responsible or not (DADT), seem to think he should have just packed up all the troops on January 21, 2009 and brought them home, leaving much bigger messes for those two countries than when we invaded their world. The callousness of that thinking is astounding, really. How can these people really justify abandoning these countries that we ripped apart. Regardless of whether you were for ripping them apart or not, we couldn’t just leave them in the rubble. Part of me wishes that he had done just that, but the responsible part of me knows that we can’t just bomb the shit out of a country and then high tail it out of town. My preference, of course, was that we never go in to begin with.
I’ll post, once again, the speech by President Obama where he said what he was going to do as a candidate. It is for those on the left who have convinced themselves that he broke some promise when he ramped up the actions in Afghanistan. Isn’t it great that we have Youtube and Google so we can remember what he actually said, instead of the revisionist history so many use to their benefit.
The reason President Obama shows his strength and leadership with this decision is because unlike the Republicans who see any sort of winding down of a war as “losing”, this President has the confidence and maturity to know that “winning or losing” a war isn’t cut and dry. Especially when the enemy is some amorphous “ism” that can’t be identified at all. It is a concept, not an enemy, so it allows the Republicans who love to feed the military industrial complex with new wars, a way of having perpetual wars. Already this morning, I saw Sen. Cornyn on MSNBC wetting himself because we are actually doing what Republicans can’t seem to do, get the hell out of a war zone. He also spewed the nonsense that I’m sure the media will take and run with, that the President doesn’t have a plan. Give me a freakin break, the military loves them some plans, they draw up plans for imaginary wars, do they really think that we don’t have a plan? It’s a freaking propaganda game he is playing, he’s probably seen the plan himself.
So once again, our very qualified, measured, intelligent president has stepped up to the plate and made the tough decisions that a President of all the people has to make. He didn’t start those wars, but he sure as hell is going to end them in a responsible way. Bravo Mr. President for being the strong leader that you are and dealing with a mess that was handed to you.
I kept thinking about going to Netroots Nation 2011 this year because I knew that the organizers are very anti-Obama and I really wanted to get in their faces. I’m sure it would not have been a pleasant scene, not that I care, but unfortunately, I was not able to attend. I would have been that guy being dragged out of the session, singing a protest song or screaming “don’t taze me bro”. I probably would have screamed “Real progressives care about progress, not their fucking egos” or “You’re sore losers, get over Hillary’s loss” or maybe “How is hurting the Democratic Party going to help progressives?”. But like I said, it probably wouldn’t have been a pleasant scene, because I would have been a heckler at the Aravosis, Choi and Hamsher bitchfest. I would have made the biggest fucking scene, oh man.
When checking out the Netroots Nation 2011 website and seeing the agenda, it occurred to me once again, that President Obama is definitely the leader they should be rallying around. They have many panels and discussions about topics that President Obama has been a fierce leader on. It proves that President Obama is the most progressive president we’ve ever had. Here is a description of one panel on their schedule, followed by the many things President Obama has done on each topic.
Thu, 06/16/2011 – 4:30pm, M100 H
The issues progressives work on today have long and storied histories–ones that provide valuable lessons for today’s modern progressive movement. In this panel, progressive historians and scholars will explore brief histories of the key issues of our time, including labor, Social Security, the welfare state and safety net, women’s rights, immigration, the religious right, voting rights and equality.
So of course I immediately thought of all the great things that Obama administration has accomplished in those areas. Google President Obama and accomplishments and you will find many of them.
- Established POWER Initiative – protects government workers, ensures reemployment, reduces worker’s comp claims and payments. ref
- Restored funding to the EEOC and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. ref
- Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act; Instituted equal pay for women. ref, ref, ref
- Social Security Disability Applicant Access to Professional Representation Act of 2010. ref
- President Obama has been emphatic about his support for Social Security, here, here and here.
Welfare State and Safety Net
- Expanded eligibility for Medicaid. ref
- Provided $20 billion increase for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. ref
- Increased funding to expand community based prevention prog: rams. ref
- Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act // Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (March 2010). ref , ref
- Expanded eligibility for State Children’s Health Insurance Fund (SCHIP). ref, ref
- Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act; Instituted equal pay for women. ref, ref, ref
- Presidential Memorandum extending benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. ref , ref , ref , ref
- Established White House Council on Women and Girls (Executive Order 13506 ). ref
- Financial agencies must establish Offices of Women and Minorities to promote more diverse hiring.
- Established a New Patient’s Bill of Rights. ref
- Increased funding to expand community based prevention prog: rams. ref
- Presidential Memorandum extending benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. ref , ref , ref , ref
- Presidential Memorandum protecting gay and lesbian partners’ visitation/healthcare decision-making rights (4/15/2010). ref
- Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act to include gender, sexual orientation and disability. ref
- Used the proper procedure for the permanent repeal of DADT, ending the Clinton era program that continued discrimination against GLBT service members.
- Financial agencies must establish Offices of Women and Minorities to promote more diverse hiring.
- Increased minority access to capital. ref
- Signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. ref
- Increased Federal Employment of Individuals with Disabilities (Exec Order)(celebrating 20th anniversary of the ADA). ref, ref
- Civil Rights History Project Act of 2009. ref, ref
- Tribal Law and Order Act. ref, ref, ref, ref
So as you can see, the President has been a great leader on all of those issues that were discussed in that panel at Netroots Nation 2011. I wasn’t there, but I’m sure they spent much of the time talking about all the great things the Obama administration has done and how they can help him continue to fight for those issues. I just know that is how the panel went, but like I said, I wasn’t there.
As progressives, and those who are making money off of them, gather in Minneapolis, the subjects they are taking on seem to read like the list of President Obama’s accomplishments. I’m not sure many of the organizers or attendees realize it, but in reading down the list of topics, it seems pretty obvious that President Obama’s priorities and the topics up for discussion are very much in line with each other. Some examples…
Topic: Engaging Progressives in the Fight to Save Public Education
Some of President Obama’s accomplishments on Education
- Enacted largest reform of student aid in 40 years. ref, ref
- Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010. ref
- Increased funding for land-grant college. ref
- Provided means for students struggling to make college loan payments to refinance. ref
- Expanded Pell grants for low-income students. ref
- Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 . ref
- Provided funding for high-speed, broadband Internet access to K-12 schools. ref
- $26 billion state aid package saved 160,000 teacher jobs (Aug 2010) ref
- Provided over $2.3 billion in additional funding to Head Start and Early Head Start programs in 2009. ref
Topic: Dirty Energy: The Fight Against Coal, Oil, Natural Gas and Nuclear Power
Some of President Obama’s accomplishments on clean energy and regulating “dirty” energy
- More than doubled federal spending for research on clean fuels. ref
- $60 billion in spending and tax incentives for renewable and clean energy. ref
- Invested $2 billion in solar power, hailed new jobs. ref, ref, ref
- Doubled funding for bicycling, walking projects ref, ref
- (DOL) Dedicated $100 million in Energy Training Partnership green jobs training grants. ref
- $8 billion combined public/pvt funding committed to develop Smart Power Grid (part of ARRA). ref
- Increased funding for the Environmental Protection Agency. ref
- Created job training programs in clean technologies for displaced workers. ref
- Created Green Vet Initiative to promote environmental jobs for veterans. ref
- Ended the previous policy of not regulating and labeling carbon dioxide emissions. ref
- Set smog limit: new strict proposal to replace Bush-era rule (EPA). ref ref
- Required states to provide incentives for utilities to reduce energy consumption. ref
Isn’t it amazing how much President Obama has done for the progressive movement. The accomplishments highlighted above are just some of what our most progressive president EVER has accomplished in 2 and 1/2 years. He accomplished them while battling against lock-step opposition from the right and even carping from a small group on the left – the naive, narcissistic, petty, “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” crowd. Can you imagine how much more he could have accomplished if that latter group had helped instead of hindered him in the process. It also would have been nice if they had at least acknowledged the fact that he was negotiating with a crazed right-wing and a group of “conservadems” that forced the President to the middle.
But I’m very encouraged to see that Netroots Nation and the President are so in line on the issues. Obama 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Source for the many accomplishments of President Obama. If you Google that sentence, you will see many more accomplishments. I love Google, by the way. I wouldn’t use anything but Google.
Some respected journalists have been dancing around the issue of whether Republicans are purposely trying to hurt the economy and job growth for political gain. I’m not afraid to say it. It is very obvious that’s exactly what they have been doing since President Obama took office. Sure, they’ve tried to couch their opposition to everything in ideological terms, but anyone with their eyes open wide, knows that they are doing everything they can to try and hurt him, and consequently, the country. ThinkProgress has the facts for us…
From the moment Obama entered office, right-wing conservatives embraced the posture of hell-bent opposition. Recall, in Jan. 2009, hate radio host Rush Limbaugh expressed his hope that Obama fails. One month later, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell proudly embraced Limbaugh at a conservative conference. The fringe rhetoric of far right activists had quickly become the de facto governing strategy of the Republican leadership, as they adopted a posture of obstructionism.
Believing that the Republican strategy of opposition has played to his political benefit, McConnell is pledging to do more of the same if Republicans win back the Senate. In an interview with the National Journal’s Major Garrett, McConnell candidly acknowledged that he feels his “single most important” job is to defeat President Obama in 2012:
MCCONNELL: We need to be honest with the public. This election is about them, not us. And we need to treat this election as the first step in retaking the government. We need to say to everyone on Election Day, “Those of you who helped make this a good day, you need to go out and help us finish the job.”
NATIONAL JOURNAL: What’s the job?
MCCONNELL: The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.
And the Republican’s have been doing everything in their power to achieve that end. It started all the way back at the beginning of President Obama’s first term. Even before he took office, Bush administration economists and Obama’s people were having very urgent meetings about preventing a complete collapse of our economy. It was serious shit, very somber. The stimulus plan was devised by all the greatest economists in our country from the right and left. As these serious people were working hard to prevent the next great depression, the clowns in the Republican Party were already starting to play their games with our future. They helped to water down the stimulus package so much that the positive effects were minimal, which made it easier for the GOP to later sell their idea that the stimulus didn’t work. It was clear that they weren’t going to be able to stop the stimulus, so they did the next best thing. Most of the blame for the watering down rests with the spineless Democrats in congress, who let the Republicans push them to right. They bowed to the coordinated attacks from the right and the media and didn’t get a single one of their votes after all the watering down. I can think of another word besides watering.
Of course, almost every economist who is truthful will tell you that the stimulus did work and had it been bigger, it would have worked even better. From USA Today (August 2010) with the title “Economists Agree: Stimulus Created Nearly 3 Million Jobs“…
The White House says the multiyear $814 billion stimulus program passed by Congress in 2009 boosted employment by 2.5 million to 3.6 million jobs and raised the nation’s annual economic output by almost $400 billion. A recent study by two prominent economists generally agrees, crediting the pump-priming with averting “what could have been called Great Depression 2.0.”
I remember clearly – the dire predictions, the fainting couches breaking, the screeching of “do something quickly” and “the sky is falling, run for your lives.” And our calm, cool President did what he had to do to stop it, with ABSOLUTELY NO FREAKIN HELP FROM REPUBLICANS. In fact, there was lock-step opposition to it. That is when I knew that the Republicans were serious about sacrificing the economy of the country they call home, for their own political gain. It wasn’t enough that they got the chance to screw up the country for 8 years with their buddy Bush, but they were desperate to complete the destruction of America. And I’m not being hyperbolic either, those scum are anti-American pieces of shit. The next paragraph in that USA Today piece points to how successful the GOP and the media’s twisting worked…
If President Obama expected anyone to say, “Thank you,” however, he’s been disappointed. In a recent USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, 59% of respondents disapproved of the president’s handling of the economy. In the partisan war over the economy’s performance, the word “stimulus” has became synonymous with “boondoggle,” making the notion of a repeat any time soon highly unlikely — especially if Republicans seize control of one or both houses of Congress in November.
Once the weakened stimulus passed, after the Republican’s pulled every trick they could, with the help of the idiot “conservadems”, they immediately started saying how it didn’t work. It started even before most of it was even implemented. The right-wing noise machine and the brain dead media, just pushed the “it didn’t work” meme ad nauseum. They were relentless. And there was very little push back from anyone in the Democratic Party. Some of them seemed to join in the bashing and fell in line with the right-wing media’s bullshit, collapsing like spineless jellyfish. It must be nice to be able to hide amongst fellow wimps, dodging any responsibility (credit) for bills they voted for, but taking that credit when they presented the big checks.
The complicit media just bought into the right-wing memes of the stimulus not working and that the Obama administration “promised” that the unemployment rate would go down to 8.5%. Of course, those projections were based on the information the crooked Bush administration handed them when they walked into office and they were in no way “promises”. They were anything but “promises”, they were cautious forecasts with all sorts of caveats. But what the hell, media, call them promises, that’s what your right-wing overlords like. Must. Please. Bosses. Once the Obama administration had been in a couple of months, they revised those estimates and said the Bush administration projections were off. Did the media pick up on that, of course not. They continue to trumpet the original number, never even mentioning the revisions. That wouldn’t fit with the narrative now, would it?
But of course the Republican opposition to all of President Obama’s policies and particularly the stimulus plan didn’t prevent them from claiming credit in their districts and having pictures taken with the giant checks. Rachel Maddow, our one national treasure in the current media, nails one of them to the wall on Meet the Press…
The DCCC has a Hypocrisy Hall of Fame for all those Republicans claiming credit in their districts while decrying the stimulus out of the other side of their mouths. But hypocrisy is the new norm in the Republican Party and because of it, the American people are desensitized to it now and just accept that all politicians are hypocrites, whether they are or not. It’s part of their scorched earth tactic to bring everyone down into the mud with them so they all look nice and dirty to the people. It will work, but only to a certain extent.
Even though respected journalists are avoiding “going there” with the idea that the GOP is purposely sabotaging our economy, they are hinting at it big time. E.J. Dionne goes there a little bit with this post…
Welcome to the miserable world of no-way-out politics.
The economy needs another jolt, but Congress is in gridlock. Democrats, or most of them, realize that their political futures and the well-being of millions of households hang on whether unemployment can be brought down. Yet Republicans have the capacity to block even the smallest steps forward.Here’s what the Democrats’ agony looks like from the inside. Last Thursday, Senate Democrats devoted their weekly policy lunch to a simple question: What proposals to spur job-creation have any chance of passing Congress, given Republican control of the House and the effective veto power the GOP has in a Senate where a simple majority no longer rules?
For the moment, Republicans have no interest in moving the nation’s debate toward investments in job creation because they gain twice over from keeping Washington mired in discussions on the deficit. It’s a brute fact that Republicans benefit if the economy stays sluggish…
I have to say that anyone who hasn’t noticed the Republicans very blatant attempts to stop the President from implementing any policy that would help the economy is simply in denial. They have either put their heads so deep in the sand OR so far up their ass, that they can’t see a damn thing. It’s one or the other, take your pick!
Have you ever had a day when you couldn’t decide what to write about on your blog? So far this morning, I’m having one of those days. It could change, but until it does I decided to share some of the links in my stash that I really enjoyed. I wouldn’t steer you wrong, really. Check them out. I’m sure I’ll snap out of my indecision. Now for the good stuff, enjoy.
Don’t feed the pundits, they bite. This is an interesting read from Marianna76 at Daily Kos Community Site. She delves into the shouting match between Ed Schultz and David (clueless) Sirota.
Speaking of that shouting match, here is a story from Mediate about the bout. Good for Ed for standing up to the craziness from the Moore, Hamsher, Sirota and Greenwald crowd who seem intent on bringing back Republican rule.
This is an excellent analysis by Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast that points out a major difference between Rep’s and Dem’s when it comes to tactics. Make em’ squirm.
And this is an awesome study of how wrong the Professional Left was in their carping at the President while he was saving us from the next great depression. Rootless_e at The People’s View does a masterful job of explaining this complex idea. Read it, learn it and share it.
I posted about this one on a previous day, but I liked it so much I wanted to make sure you took a look at it. It’s about the “other Obama Derangement Syndrome”, the one on the left, from F. Grey Parker at The Hand That Feeds You.
And this one I found this morning from Frank Schaeffer, a big Hat Tip to The People’s View who did a post about it too. Go read both of them, excellent stuff. It speaks to the fact that President Obama is one kick ass president, the best ever in my opinion.
When President Obama took office, the sky was falling and the effects of Bush’s stupid policies were raining down upon us like razor blades, cutting everyone they came in contact with. It’s pretty astounding how soon people have forgotten what we were facing with predictions of slipping into another depression coming from everywhere. A lot of people did suffer in the downturn and we’ve been struggling to get back to where we were. And whether Republicans want to admit it or not, Bush was responsible for the mess. The GOP tried their hardest, with much success, to brainwash their followers and the media – that once Bush left office, all accountability and the residual effects of his policies went with him. The GOP and their media lapdogs almost immediately started telling us all that President Obama now owns all the disasters that were left behind. One of the big fears during late 2008 and early 2009 was the potential collapse of the auto industry. Even President Bush saw this and started the process of bailing out the auto industry. Former President Bush deserves credit for that. But the rest of the GOP apparently decided that those estimated 2 million jobs were expendable. Check out this clip that reminds us what the two leading contenders for the Republican nomination said back then. Courtesy of the DNC…
They were so sure of themselves, weren’t they. They weren’t saying it might happen, they were adamant that bailing out the auto industry was going to kill it completely. I’ve posted about the success of GM in the auto bailout before, well this week we learned that Chrysler is paying back both the US and Canadian governments 6 years ahead of schedule. From The New York Times…
Chrysler paid back on Tuesday $7.6 billion in loans from the American and Canadian governments, paving the way for its Italian partner, Fiat, to increase its control over the Detroit carmaker.
The repayment of loans and interest owed to the United States Treasury and Export Development Canada is a significant milestone in Chrysler’s methodical comeback from bankruptcy in 2009.
“While there is more work to be done, we are starting to see stronger sales, additional shifts at plants and signs of strength in the auto industry and our economy,” the president said.
I never understood as it was happening, why the Republicans would be so blatantly against trying to help save all those jobs in the auto industry and the ancillary business that supply the auto industry. On the face of it, it just came off as very cold and insensitive to all the people affected by it. Politically, it seemed like a stupid move. I suspected it was the right-wings extreme hatred for unions that drove their irrational and naive pronouncements about the bailout. At the time, I knew they were going to live to regret those comments. It’s just too bad it wasn’t in 2010 that they regretted them.
The many successes of the Obama administration has to be frustrating as hell for the Republicans, who have been saying for many years that the government can’t do anything right and then of course for the 8 years of Bush, they proved it. There is nothing like a self-fulfilling prophecy. The Obama administration has proven over and over that the federal government, with all its warts, can create change and help move our country forward.
I’ve been watching and trying to understand the harsh critics of the President since before he was elected in 2008. The ones that really bother me are the ones on the left who don’t seem to be living in reality, don’t seem to even try to understand the context of any given situation and are so knee-jerk in their criticism of the President, that they clearly have other reasons for those quick, over-the-top responses. And the reverse of that, they give no credit whatsoever for what he has accomplished. I’m a liberal, damn it, but I’m a pragmatist too. After spending many hours with my incredible mother watching C-Span and Sunday morning news shows and discussing the way things have worked and continue to work in our government, I’ve learned to be a pragmatist. My mother taught me as I kicked and screamed. She lived through the Great Depression, World War II and was witness to all the progress that has been made over the years for woman, minorities and our entire country. She tempered my idealism and made me realize that you have to compromise in order to move forward and make it stick.
Progress happens in stages and involves educating people, working together towards those goals and yes, speaking out so that pressure is brought on politicians who must make those changes. But it NEVER happens overnight and it can never be rammed down people’s throats. It causes an adverse reaction and push back, thus hurting the chance for progress. There are so many examples of this that you would think it would be obvious to thinking people, but you would be wrong. :)
In the recent uproar with Cornell West coming out full Anti-Obama (I’ll get to that later), he has given us a perfect example of that naiveté. In my reading, I came across this great post from Milt Shook at PCTC (Please Cut The Crap), that helps to explain reality. Here is one passage that said it well…(emphasis mine)
I am a true-blue, died in the wool, hard-core liberal/progressive. I have spent my life trying to do my little part to move this country in that direction. That last part is what makes me an actual progressive. Having all sorts of high ideals doesn’t make one a progressive; the desire to move the system in that direction – THAT is what makes me progressive. Got it? Good.
But here’s the thing.
This country has NEVER been all that progressive. This country has NEVER fulfilled the promise of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Yet, I remain hopeful that it will. It’s moving in the right direction overall, but in recent years – about the last 40, give or take a few – there have been forces that are attempting to move it in the opposite direction, and they need to stop it.
This may surprise you, but I am not talking about the right wing. I’m talking about the extreme left wing of the political spectrum. They suck at politics and, ironically, the very people they claim to be trying to advance in society are suffering as a result.
I highly recommend you go and read the entire post over at PCTC, I found myself saying out loud “damn right” and other positive grunts and utterances as I was reading it. Then come back and read my comments on the issue, please. I would also recommend that you buy Milt Shock’s new book, Not Another Savior, although I haven’t read it yet, I’m buying one myself later today. I really like the way Milt thinks and have to “believe” it is good, which is good enough for me to buy it. Kind of like faith. :) More from Milt at PCTC, saying things I’ve been thinking…freakin mind reader, anyway.
We live in a democracy. If you want to make policy, you have to win elections. Winning elections requires a majority. It’s depressing that I feel like I have to point that out to some on the far left, but I apparently do. If you want to be an ACTUAL progressive, then you have to take this equation into account. If you’re not prepared to do whatever is necessary to move in the right (as in correct) direction, which is to get a majority of the populace behind you, then you’re not really a progressive. You may agree with me on every issue above, but if you’re not doing what you can to make shit happen, you’re a phony. God, I hate to be that blunt, but it’s true.
If people who claim to want progress aren’t doing what needs to be done to make shit happen, they are just arm-chair quarterbacks, sitting on the sidelines lobbing grenades in the form of criticism, while at the same time weakening the very people who need strength in order to make that progress. As a “progressive”, very well defined by Milt, it’s fucking maddening to watch as these people tear down the only politician in Washington who seems to be trying to get shit done, President Obama. Individual congress-people and senators have very narrow interests, getting reelected in their districts being the main one. When the critics on the left attack and criticize the “congress”, that amorphous group of people who represent all variations of people in their districts and are sent to Washington for that purpose, I always see that as pretty naive as well. Who in the hell are they going to turn to, Gary Johnson, Ralph Nader? When it comes to the congress, the best analogy to me is the idea of trying to herd cats or chickens, good luck with that. So it takes a leader like President Obama to try to set the direction, educate people, and put pressure on the special interests who push Congress in the directions they want, even if they aren’t in the best interests of progress. It’s a tough job, and made much tougher when the loudest voices in the echo chamber are weakening you.
More from Milt’s excellent piece…
Once again, you can’t get policy done without winning elections. Elected officials make policy. Elected officials make judicial appointments. Elected officials put policies into effect and enforce laws. And you can’t get elected with high ideals but no support. It literally does not matter how “passionately” you feel about an issue; if you don’t give politicians the tools they need to turn your “passion” into policy, you’re basically masturbating, politically speaking. When you vote for a “third party,” you’re a political jackoff. When you vote for a candidate with no chance of winning, you’re a political jackoff. If you plan to “stay away from the polls to send a message,” you’re a political jackoff and a joke. Seriously, how delusional does someone have to be to think that not voting sends a message to anyone? For shit’s sake, folks; half the population stays away from the polls in most elections; that’s like saying NOT going to a Lady Gaga concert sends a message that you don’t like her music. Here’s a clue, folks; she doesn’t give a shit about non-fans, and the political system doesn’t give a shit if you stay away from the polls.
But what really angers me about this certain stripe of phony “progressives” is that they’re so loud and obnoxious about it, they end up handing elections to the right wing pretty much by default.
I’ve had a theory for a long time that much of the harsh criticism on the left, the stuff that doesn’t help us progress, is based on pettiness, selfishness, racism towards our first black president, greed and extreme naiveté (or some combination).
I haven’t weighed in much on the Cornell West tirade of late because being a white man, I don’t feel qualified to speak on many of these issues. I certainly have my opinions and have a few years of experience exploring a lot of issues that have faced African Americans. I produced, directed, co-wrote and co-edited a historical documentary on The Second Great Migration and I’m currently in pre-production on a few other similar stories. But I still would never presume to be able to speak to the ideas that Cornell West is pushing in the black community. I leave that to others like Melissa Harris-Perry (2016). Having read to this point in this post, please watch this clip from Ed Schultz’s show featuring Cornell West and Melissa Harris-Perry. And please notice how unspecific Cornell West’s ideas are and how chimerical. You might also notice how easily he dismisses President Obama’s many accomplishments, if only Cornell had gotten a few more phone calls from candidate Obama and a couple tickets to the inauguration.
I am probably Melissa Harris-Perry’s biggest fan, I think she should run for president in 2016 and I hereby nominate her. I would imagine that watching what President Obama has had to go through to this point, she’s probably not looking at the job as a step up at this point. But here’s to hoping she has a moment of dementia and runs for elected office. I read in this “chirpstory” that I created from her Twitter feed, that she hasn’t ruled it out. Woo hoo!
So I keep trying to understand how people who seem sane, with moderate to high intelligence, who claim to be “progressive” (whatever the hell that means anymore), can attack the very party and President who they stand the only chance of making progress with. We as real liberals (or progressives) have to keep calling them out on their pettiness and how they are hurting the progress they say they support.