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.
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.
I’m not sure how I missed this, but I’m glad I found it. Don’t mess with seniors, I’m telling you.
Thankfully, there are a few good print journalists left who remember what they were taught in journalism school and actually dug below the surface, beneath the manufactured reality that the right has hoisted on the American people. Glenn Kessler took a look at the 12 million jobs claim by Romney in his latest ad and discovered what I expected, a mishmash of bad math and wishful thinking. Go Glenn…(emphasis mine)
The analysis, which is prominently posted on the Romney campaign Web site, concludes:
“If we had a recovery that was just the average of past recoveries from deep recessions, like those of 1974-1975 or 1981-1982, the economy would be creating about 200,000 to 300,000 jobs per month. By changing course away from the policies of the current administration and ending economic uncertainty, as proposed by the Romney plan, we expect that the current recovery will align with the average gains of similar past recoveries. History shows that a recovery rooted in policies contained in the Romney plan will create about 12 million jobs in the first term of a Romney presidency.”
I’m sorry, but any statement that begins with the word “IF” and then ventures down the road of false comparisons and rosy numbers should be thrown out on its face. But then they go on to say with a straight face that by merely “ending economic uncertainty, as proposed by the Romney plan”, the recovery will take off like a rocket and all will be well. When you are living in a fantasy world where you make up the numbers, create a fantasy candidate to run against and lie with abandon with no push back, I’m sure that the idea of just waving a magic wand over “economic uncertainty” is plausible. Why not, the rest of the Romney plan is smoke and mirrors – what makes anyone think they won’t get away with this either.
The man has “style” while lying through his pie-hole.
Glenn Kessler, to his credit, tears apart the basis for Romney’s “12 Million Jobs” ad and looks at the source for the claims in the ad.
But the specifics — 7 million plus 3 million plus 2 million — mentioned by Romney in the ad are not in the white paper. So where did that come from?
We asked the Romney campaign, and the answer turns out to be: totally different studies … with completely different timelines.
This study at least assesses the claimed effect of specific Romney policies. The rest of the numbers are even more squishy.
For instance, the 3-million-jobs claim for Romney’s energy policies appears largely based on a Citigroup Global Markets study that did not even evaluate Romney’s policies. Instead, the report predicted 2.7 million to 3.6 million jobs would be created over the next eight years, largely because of trends and policies already adopted — including tougher fuel efficiency standards that Romney has criticized and suggested he would reverse.
The 2-million-jobs claim from cracking down on China is also very suspicious.
Now just to be clear, the above justifications for the numbers came from the Romney campaign. The 7 million jobs number is a “10-year number” and was the only study cited by the Romney campaign that was even based on the Romney “plan”, such that it is.
The 3-million-jobs claim came from a study that looks at 8 years and was based largely on policies that President Obama has adopted, some of which Romney plans to reverse.
The 2-million-jobs, that Romney thinks will magically appear, will materialize by “cracking down on China.” It is based on old numbers and economic conditions and relies on China cooperating on intellectual property rights. If you really think that’s going to happen, I have a nice condo in the Cayman Islands, very near Romney’s tax shelter corporation, that I will sell you really cheap.
With only 3 weeks to go until the election, it is astounding to watch the Romney campaign get away with the most shallow, fact free campaign for the White House that our country has ever known.
Thankfully there are still a few great journalists around that also care about truth….because damn it, it will set you free.
Cross posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
I’m sure you’ve all had this experience before. You are conversing or tweeting or facebooking with someone and they characterize President Obama in a way that is so far from the truth that you wonder if the person is living in an alternate reality.
The prime purveyors of this alternate reality are Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. Both of those entities reach many millions of people on a daily basis and spread so much misinformation that the fact checkers and honest journalists are overwhelmed – they can’t keep up with it. If you need examples, go spend a few minutes at Media Matters for America, which does an excellent job of keeping an eye on those two propaganda machines.
I read an interesting book review in the New York Times yesterday that alluded to that alternate reality. I don’t agree with the reviewers full characterization of Obama’s first term, but he points to the above idea in a concise way in his review of Charles R. Kesler’s book I Am the Change. (emphasis is mine)
Whenever conservatives talk to me about Barack Obama, I always feel quite certain that they mean something else. But what exactly? The anger, the suspicion, the freestyle fantasizing have no perceptible object in the space-time continuum that centrist Democrats like me inhabit. What are we missing? Seen from our perspective, the country elected a moderate and cautious straight shooter committed to getting things right and giving the United States its self-respect back after the Bush-Cheney years. Unlike the crybabies at MSNBC and Harper’s Magazine, we never bought into the campaign’s hollow “hope and change” rhetoric, so aren’t crushed that, well, life got in the way. At most we hoped for a sensible health care program to end the scandal of America’s uninsured, and were relieved that Obama proposed no other grand schemes of Nixonian scale. We liked him for his political liberalism and instinctual conservatism. And we still like him. […]
The Claremont Review doesn’t like Obama one bit. But it has usually taken the slightly higher road in criticizing him, and when Kesler begins his book by dismissing those who portray the president as “a third-world daddy’s boy, Alinskyist agitator, deep-cover Muslim or undocumented alien” the reader is relieved to know that “I Am the Change” won’t be another cheap, deflationary takedown. Instead, it is that rarest of things, a cheap inflationary takedown — a book that so exaggerates the historical significance of this four-year senator from Illinois, who’s been at his new job even less time, that he becomes both Alien and Predator.
It isn’t just Republicans who have this mindset, I hear very similar “inflations” from the libertarian trolls on Twitter and in the blogosphere. They seem to have molded their reality to fit their perceptions and of course take in any information that agrees with it and reject any that runs counter to it. This next passage is particularly good.
But his systematic exaggerations demonstrate that the right’s rage against Obama, which has seeped out into the general public, has very little to do with anything the president has or hasn’t done. It’s really directed against the historical process they believe has made America what it is today. The conservative mind, a repository of fresh ideas just two decades ago, is now little more than a click-click slide projector holding a tray of apocalyptic images of modern life that keeps spinning around, raising the viewer’s fever with every rotation. If you want to experience what it’s like to be within that mind on a better day, then you need to visit “I Am the Change.”
The reviewer doesn’t mention what I think has a lot to do with that rage, RACISM! I don’t, however, attribute all of it to racism. Having been an observer of politics for many decades, I know that at least some of it is rage against “liberals” in general. President Clinton had people accusing him of murder and all sorts of other batshit crazy stuff and of course you don’t get any whiter than Bill, at least on the surface.
So to me, it’s a combination of deep seated racism bubbling to the surface, the vilification of all “liberals” in the style of Frank Luntz and the effect of the Fox News/Limbaugh projects that have misinformed millions of Americans for right-wing political gain.
I miss the Republican party that used to be based on real ideas, as stupid and misguided as they were. It’s nearly impossible to debate a right-winger these days, because you can’t even get them to agree to objective facts and instead have to spend your time trying to educate them about reality.
On November 6, 2012, we can all do the country and our discourse a favor by sending every Republican packing.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
You may have heard that Glenn Greenwald, the Rio Pundit, is leaving Salon.com and bringing his brand of hyperbole to The Guardian.
As someone who used to be a loyal reader of Salon, I hope that it signals a turn back to the days of old. I’m not exactly confident that it will, they did recently hire David Sirota – who was rightfully pegged by Oliver Willis as “serially stupid”, as pointed out by Chez Pazienza.
Yesterday, I clicked over to Salon by way of a link in one of Glenn Greenwald’s tweets. He was attacking a Democrat, of course, that’s what he does these days. The title of the post was “Dianne Feinstein’s “espionage” and the tweet that linked to the article is below. By the way, I don’t link to his crap…Google it if you want to read it.
I started reading and clicking through his links and found that the source of the statement “one of the biggest leakers in Congress” was a Tweet. No shit, a Tweet. Here is the relevant section of the post, complete with Glenn’s yellow highlights.
But what makes the case of Dianne Feinstein extra egregious is that, as is well-known in Washington, the California Senator is one of the most prolific leakers in town. Here’s what Blake Hounshell, the Managing Editor of Foreign Policy Magazine, wrote yesterday in response to Feinstein’s latest condemnation of leaks:
One hears this frequently from people like Hounshell who report on national security and intelligence matters in Washington. That the powerful Senator who has devoted herself to criminally punishing low-level leakers and increasing the wall of secrecy is herself “one of the biggest leakers in Congress” is about as perfect an expression as it gets of how the rule of law and secrecy powers are sleazily exploited in Washington (moreover, as EFF’s Trevor Timm observed yesterday: “Strange, I don’t remember Sen. Feinstein decrying leaks coming from the White House when they led to the Iraq War“).
From the looks of it, Glenn Greenwald wrote an entire post around a tweet from Blake Hounshell, the managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine. I clicked on every other link, looking for more proof that Dianne Feinstein is “one of the biggest leakers in Congress”, but mostly found Glenn linking to other hyperbolic rants by himself. I guess Glenn was fine with that one source and his statement that “[O]ne hears this frequently from people like Hounshell who report on national security…”. Glenn’s lack of sources doesn’t affect his penchant for hyperbole in the least.
Sen. Feinstein may very well be a leaker, but if you were to read Glenn Greenwald’s post, you would be hard pressed to find any real evidence of it besides the tweet from Blake Hounshell, who from what I can tell is a decent journalist. It’s kind of funny, but in researching this article, I came across a piece by Hounshell where he questions Greenwald over his attack on Wired magazine.
The second snarky tweet that Greenwald referenced from Trevor Timm said “Strange, I don’t remember Sen Feinstein decrying leaks coming from the White House when they led to the Iraq War”. There is some good evidence for you – Trevor Timm doesn’t remember Sen. Feinstein decrying leaks that led to the Iraq War. I took to Google for a minute and found this one, I know there are many more because I DO remember the Senator decrying White House leaks during the Bush years. This is from 2006, when the information came to light…
“It is deeply disturbing to learn that President Bush may have authorized the selective disclosure of our most sensitive intelligence information to the media to help justify a war and discredit critics,” Feinstein said in a statement.
One of the links in Mr. Greenwald’s post brought me to this little gem from a previous attack Glenn made on Senator Feinstein. It made me shoot Diet Lipton Green Tea out my nose.
In October of 2002, she (naturally) voted to authorize President Bush to use military force to invade Iraq. She now self-servingly claims that she “regrets” the vote and was tricked by the Bush administration into believing Saddam had WMDs…(emphasis mine)
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold up Glenny. You supported the Iraq War invasion, you have no right to type “naturally” or “self-serving”. From the intro to one of your books…
Despite these doubts, concerns, and grounds for ambivalence, I had not abandoned my trust in the Bush administration. Between the president’s performance in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the swift removal of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the fact that I wanted the president to succeed, because my loyalty is to my country and he was the leader of my country, I still gave the administration the benefit of the doubt. I believed then that the president was entitled to have his national security judgment deferred to, and to the extent that I was able to develop a definitive view, I accepted his judgment that American security really would be enhanced by the invasion of this sovereign country. (emphasis mine)
I wonder how many times he has linked to that book introduction?
Why would Glenn Greenwald give President Bush the benefit of the doubt, trust, deference and blind loyalty – even after admitting that he had doubts and concerns? Yet, he hasn’t given one bit of respect or deference to President Obama and in fact has done the exact opposite by relentlessly finding every little nuance to exaggerate, as only Glenn can do. He was clearly capable of respect and deference with his beloved W. and accepted “his judgement that American security really would be enhanced by the invasion of this sovereign country.”
All you Glenn fanboys, you got that? Glenn was just fine with President Bush invading the sovereign country of Iraq where over a hundred thousand innocent men, women and children were killed by big motherfucking bunker-buster bombs. The blood of those Iraqi civilians is on Glenn’s hands.
I’ve also noticed that Greenwald likes to conflate “whistleblowing” and “leaking”. He seems to think they are one in the same. The term “whistleblowing” as it relates to the law, has a clear definition and it is much different than the practice of “leaking”, but I guess I shouldn’t expect Greenwald to know the difference or at least be honest about it.
Once Greenwald leaves Salon.com, I’ll probably stop back over there to see what’s shaking. They have a couple of good writers and you never know, maybe they will refrain from smearing people now that Glenn Greenwald is leaving.
Hey Glenn, I hope the door hits you square in the ass on your way out.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
by Milt Shook
One of the most galling things about the professional left is the number of times they lie to make a point. You can’t be a progressive and also lie to the people who read your stuff. As this blog notes time and time again, the truth has a liberal bias; Fox News needs to lie; we do not.
Case in point; the hysteria over what many pro and emo lefties refer to as the “Indefinite Detention Bill.” Even people I often admire are buying into the hysteria, and it’s become depressing.
First thing you should know is, there is NO SUCH THING as an “Indefinite Detention Bill.” The actual bill Obama first threatened to veto and has now agreed to sign is called the “National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012.” The part about the “indefinite detention” is actually a poison pill amendment Republicans inserted into the bill to portray any Democrat who votes against it or President Obama if he vetoes it as being “against our troops.” Republicans put it there, not Democrats or Obama.
Yet, who the hell do these supposed “liberals” go after? Not the people who put that crap into the bill in the first place, of course. They go after President Obama, who has command the military (which includes my son, who’s working hard trying to rebuild Afghanistan, by the way) and have little choice but to put up with such Amendments. How incredibly stupid is this? Did so many progressive really learn NOTHING from the 2010 elections?
Obama doesn’t have a line-item veto, so he can’t veto the “Indefinite Detention Bill” without vetoing the entire NDAA. Now, you may think that would be a good thing, but would it? It’s not just about the troops. What about all of those civilians who might lose their jobs for at least a month or two, while Obama and Congress, including teabaggers, who have declared defeating Obama as their main goal, worked out a new NDAA without that little amendment, assuming they could do so? What do you think canceling all those defense contracts for a month or two would do to the unemployment rate? How about six months? What would happen to all of those small towns that depend on the military bases and contractors to support their small businesses? Do you imagine the GOP might be a bit energized after the unemployment rate suddenly rises to 10%?
Those of you who claim “principle” when you discuss this need to stop. Many pros and emos claim Obama’s showing a “lack of principle” by signing this “Indefinite Detention Bill.” Forget the fact that you’re claiming a lack of principle when you’re lying to the public about a bill that doesn’t exist. You’re actually advocating for an action that could put millions of people out of work for a few months, and forcing our troops to lose their meager pay for a few months for… what, exactly? What are your “principles” when you advocate for that, in order to kill an amendment that will probably ultimately have zero effect on anyone, and might even die in the courts?
I don’t like this amendment any more than you do. But you know what? If he vetoes this bill to kill that amendment, and then causes the Republicans to win in 2012, they’re just going to pass the same bill, and allow President Gingrich/Romney/Perry to detain people at will, anyway, right?
Michael Moore is often dead on with his critiques of Republicans and many times with Democrats as well, but just like with his films, he often makes the facts fit whatever narrative he is trying to push.
Like many others in the “firebagger brigade”, since the election of President Obama, he spends most of his time criticizing Democrats. Personally, I’m sick of his whiny “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” shtick and based on the actions he takes every election cycle, he doesn’t seem very concerned about electing liberals to office. If he were, he would be more careful about what comes out of his pie hole. In fact, I see his shtick as very harmful to liberal politicians.
There was a clip flying around the internet the other day in which Michael Moore imparts his wisdom to us on politics and tells us why the 2010 elections favored the Republicans. For those of you who are aware of reality, it’s maddening to watch. It is a perfect example of the type of hyperbole that Moore employs and how he will say whatever he needs to — in order to push his narrative and thus his brand. Roll tape:
For those of you who can’t watch clips online, here is my rush transcript of his idiotic, uninformed rant.
The Democratic Party is clearly on the side of the 99%’ers and no amount of denial and blame shifting can change that. And yes, the Democratic Party has their share of elected representatives that act more like conservatives than liberals, but that fact shouldn’t diminish the hard working liberals in the party who are fighting for all of us in this country who don’t have lobbyists. When I hear or read people generalize and group all Democrats in with big business, they are ignoring reality and perpetuating false memes.
I had an exchange on Twitter the other day with a person who exemplifies much of that “head-in-the-sand” thinking. Here are a few of his tweets, with my responses.
Tweeter: The difference between a Democrat and Republican is the difference between a man and his mirrored reflection.
Extreme Liberal: How does the mirror reflect the repeal of DADT? Or health care for children? Or Lily Ledbetter? Or the Matthew Shepard law?
Extreme Liberal: Or who’s reflection is opposite Sotomayor or Kagan? Do you want a Republican picking the next nominee to the SUPREME COURT!
The Tweeter in question then sent a tweet that he has since deleted, probably had second thoughts about it, but he basically said that the issues I raised were “petty”, to which I replied…
Extreme Liberal: Tell my niece who now has health care that she is petty or over 60,000 LGBT people now serving openly in our military.
Extreme Liberal: And if you have any females in your family, are you willing to give up their rights to their own bodies? Supreme Court matters!
Tweeter: Bush might as well have been a Democrat, Obama a Republican for the similar aims and interests re: domestic/foreign policy.
President Obama spoke in Asheville, North Carolina this morning as part of his continued push to bring jobs to the American people. He laid waste to the Republican’s “plan” and did a little comparison for us that spells out a stark reality. It needs to be shared with the people marching in the streets across the country…(emphasis mine)
THE PRESIDENT: They said no to helping veterans find jobs.
Essentially, they said no to you — because it turns out one poll found that 63 percent of Americans support the ideas in this jobs bill. (Applause.) So 63 percent of Americans support the jobs bill that I put forward; 100 percent of Republicans in the Senate voted against it. That doesn’t make any sense, does it?
THE PRESIDENT: No, it does not.
Now, it turns out that the Republicans have a plan, too. I want to be fair. They call — they put forward this plan last week. They called it the “Real American Jobs Act.” The “real one” — that’s what they called it — just in case you were wondering. (Laughter.) So let’s take a look at what the Republican American jobs act looks like. It turns out the Republican plan boils down to a few basic ideas: They want to gut regulations; they want to let Wall Street do whatever it wants.
Melissa Harris-Perry wrote a very thoughtful piece exploring the reasons why President Obama, with his many successes in the face of great opposition, is struggling in the polls with white liberals. It is something I’ve been frustrated with since before the President was sworn in — when people on the left began attacking him about his appointments to various cabinet positions.
At first, I didn’t want to believe that race was a large part of that equation and chalked a lot of it up to “bitterness” left over from the contentious primary fight with Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich and the others. But as his presidency progressed and more evidence continued to pile up, I, as a white liberal, began to see that the source of a lot of that disrespect and vitriol clearly was coming from an elitist and superior attitude, much of it rooted in race.
If you haven’t been following the story, I recommend you read Joy Reid’s piece at The Reid Report. She gives some background on the reaction to some on the left to Harris-Perry’s powerful post.
My first instinct whenever I come across something that is clearly over-the-top rhetoric is to attempt to find out the source of that vitriol. Strong opinions don’t usually materialize out of thin air, they come from somewhere and I like to find out where. Using the Google machine, I decided to go back and read some previous writing by Gene Lyons as it relates to race and particularly, President Obama. What I found was quite shocking, in my opinion. You decide for yourself.
On matters of race, I’ve learned as a white, 49 year old male to listen and defer to those who have a closer connection to the effects of racism. What the hell do I know about suffering from racism, other than what I can learn from those who have suffered through it. It’s impossible for me to completely understand what it is like without having experienced it. I’ve accepted that fact and when a person of color speaks about it, I listen and try to internalize it.
One person that I listen to very intently is Melissa Harris-Perry, a very wise and thoughtful person who always makes sense to me whenever I hear her speak or read her words.
In President Obama’s press conference yesterday, he fired some warning shots across the bow of the Republican party and put them on notice that he’s going to make them suffer for their obstruction of the American Jobs Act. He also called out the brain dead media and I really hope that continues. Take it away Mr. President…
“[W]hat I’ve tried to do is say, here are the best ideas I’ve heard. Not just from partisans, but from independent economists. These are the ideas most likely to create jobs now and strengthen the economy right now. And that’s what the American people are looking for. And the response from Republicans has been: No. Although they haven’t given a good reason why they’re opposed to putting construction workers back on the job, or teachers back in the classroom.
“If you ask them, ‘Well, okay, if you’re not for that, what are you for?’ Trade has already been done; patent reform has been done. What else? The answer we’re getting right now is, well, we’re going to roll back all these Obama regulations. So their big economic plan to put people back to work right now is to roll back financial protections and allow banks to charge hidden fees on credit cards again or weaken consumer watchdogs, or alternatively they’ve said we’ll roll back regulations that make sure we’ve got clean air and clean water, eliminate the EPA. Does anybody really think that that is going to create jobs right now and meet the challenges of a global economy that are — that is weakening with all these forces coming into play?
“I mean, here is a good question, here’s a little homework assignment for folks: Go ask the Republicans what their jobs plan is if they’re opposed to the American Jobs Act, and have it scored, have it assessed by the same independent economists that have assessed our jobs plan. These independent economists say that we could grow the economy as much as 2 percent, and as many as 1.9 million workers would be back on the job. I think it would be interesting to have them do a similar assessment — same people. Some of these folks, by the way, traditionally have worked for Republicans, not just Democrats. Have those economists evaluate what, over the next two years, the Republican jobs plan would do.
“I’ll be interested in the answer. I think everybody here — I see some smirks in the audience because you know that it’s not going to be real robust.”
If Republicans think that message isn’t resonating with the American people, they are even more stupid than we all thought. I’m pretty sure that John Boehner had to run to the cloak room commode to change his Underoos after hearing the President spell it out so clearly. But the President went even further and warned them that he will beat the living shit out them with every part of the legislation and demand that Republicans tell us why they don’t want to create jobs. Go President Obama…
“[If Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell] chooses to vote against it, or if members of his caucus choose to vote against it, I promise you we’re going to keep on going, and we will put forward maybe piece by piece each component of the bill. And each time they’re going to have to explain why it is that they’d be opposed to putting teachers back in the classroom, or rebuilding our schools, or giving tax cuts to middle-class folks, and giving tax cuts to small businesses. […]
“If … everybody on Capitol Hill is cynical and saying there’s no way that the overall jobs bill passes in its current form, we’re just going to keep on going at it. I want everybody to be clear. My intention is to insist that each part of this, I want an explanation as to why we shouldn’t be doing it, each component part: putting people back to work rebuilding our roads, putting teachers back in the classroom, tax cuts for small businesses and middle-class families, tax breaks for our veterans. We will just keep on going at it….”
Mr. President, more please!
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
West Virginia is a very conservative state and in the special election for governor that happened yesterday, the Republicans spent nearly twice as much as the Democrats on the race. The Republicans went out of their way to tie President Obama to the Democratic candidate, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and how did that work out for them?
Governor Tomblin won the election and thwarted the media’s plans to continue their anti-Obama narrative — the one that makes the President responsible for every election in every state. Individual candidates don’t matter anymore to the media, everything is a referendum on President Obama. I’m waiting for the media to blame the drain commissioner election in my township on President Obama, oh shit, maybe I shouldn’t have tipped them off.
There never seems to be any referendum on the Republican controlled House that hasn’t created one fucking job yet, hasn’t even tried to create one job and in fact, has been trying to do the opposite by playing games with the debt ceiling and anything else that is game-worthy.
Given the Republican strategy, some in the media seemed eager to seize on the race as an example of a president facing a political crisis. Mark Halperin conceded overnight, “If the GOPer had won, the national narrative would have been that Obama was the issue.” Coming on the heels of two Democratic defeats in congressional special elections, the “Dems in disarray” coverage was going to be intense.
Given that the Democrat won, even with the Republican’s outspending and trying to make it a referendum on President Obama, I’m sure the media will start a new narrative about how the President’s push for the jobs bill and his campaigning across the country is the reason for the Democratic win. I’m just sure of it.
Anyone who thinks that the cable media and much of the print media is liberal needs to have their head examined. The Democrats and the President have been enduring the right wing lies that ooze from Fox News on the half hour for years. But what is even more troubling is the anti-Obama slant that is coming from the supposed left leaning MSNBC and the new TeaNN (CNN), which has hitched it’s wagon to the Tea Party crowd.
I’ll leave you with an example that was probably missed by most people. This morning on CNN, they were talking about the Hank Williams Jr. story and his “apology” about his remarks on Fox News comparing President Obama and Speaker Boehner to Hitler and Netanyahu and then showing his great intellect by calling Obama and Biden the Three Stooges. Christine Romans, during some cross talk, said something like, maybe Hank should apologize to the Three Stooges. W.T.F.? No bias there, right?