The Trumping Down Of America!

A word on Trump:

It is very scary that he defends himself ,when asked about his racism, bigotry and misogyny, by saying “I’m popular, I get standing ovations!” In a sense, he’s spitting in our faces. And any who say he is “refreshing” or “speaks the truth” is also spitting in our faces and agreeing with his extreme, crazy views. There is nothing “refreshing” about his hatred, dismissal & demeaning of well over half our population. And if the media were doing its job instead of using him to get ratings, people would know that his companies have filed bankruptcy at least 5 times and he’s way over leveraged on his real estate holdings, so he’s really not a “successful businessman” like the lazy media keeps saying.

I’m not really worried about him ever winning the presidency, but what he is doing to our country is sickening. I feel sorry for people who are Republicans, he is marginalizing your party and insuring many losses on a national level for years to come. There aren’t enough racists, bigots and misogynists (that vote) to beat us. Remember, a black guy named Barack Hussein Obama won more votes than any president in our country’s history. If Trump keeps going on and on and on – offending Hispanics, women (and supporters) & many other groups while calling himself a Republican….we win again and again and again.

But I will say, I would rather Trump go away and have the Republicans put up a serious, adult individual so we can have a lively debate about how to solve some problems that still linger in our country and the new ones that pop up everyday.

I think America is still great. Its never been perfect, never will be. But it seems that the right in this country has decided that tearing down the country, bad mouthing it, sabotaging the economy with shutdowns, debt ceiling shenanigans and obstruction is somehow going to give them an edge over the Democrats. It is Un-American. But they seem to have succeeded in their scorched Earth strategy. They act like idiots, people blame ALL politicians and they get a few more angry, misinformed people to show up to the polls than the Democrats…and the scorching continues.

End rant.

When the Democrats went populist

Guest post by Smartypants

As the civil war in the Republican Party between the establishment and the anti-establishment rages on, there seems to be a knee-jerk need in the punditry class to find a false equivalence with the Democrats. We saw this the other day from the dudebro firebaggers in their longing for the same kind of civil war on the left. Now its surfacing from some in the more traditional media. For example, from the establishment point of view, Chris Cilliza thinks that perhaps Chris Christie can emulate Bill Clinton and rescue the Republicans from their civil war. For the anti-establishment folks, Chrystia Freeland seems to thinks the NY Mayoral candidacy of Bill de Blasio is just like the tea partiers.

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.

Elected Republicans Are Stupid – Part 1

Stupid1I’m not sure exactly when it began, but a growing number of elected Republicans are extremely stupid. There is so much stupidity coming out of their mouths on a daily basis, it’s hard to keep up with it. One of the reasons I love Steve Benen from the Maddowblog is because he likes to keep track of and make fun of stupid Republicans. But he is much more respectful than I am.

Here is one of the latest examples of Republican stupidity.

Last week, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) got a little confused. During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the Iowa Republican read brief remarks in which he condemned the Obama administration for pushing a “court-packing” strategy in which the president would nominate judges to fill existing vacancies. […]

I assumed at the time that this was an amusing-but-isolated misstep involving a Republican senator who routinely gets baffled by details. But I assumed wrong — this is apparently the new GOP talking point.

…Grassley isn’t alone in making these charges. During floor remarks last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) accused Democrats of plotting with the White House “to pack the D.C. Circuit with appointees,” and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) worried aloud that Democrats may “decide to play politics and seek — without any legitimate justification — to pack the D.C. Circuit with unneeded judges simply in order to advance a partisan agenda.”

Even The Wall Street Journal piled on last week, arguing in an editorial that the D.C. Circuit “doesn’t need new judges to handle the workload” and filling those vacant seats would be akin to “packing the court for political ends.”

Not to put too fine a point on this, but the argument is simply crazy. In the American system of government, it’s madness to suggest the president is doing something controversial when he nominates qualified jurists to fill vacancies on the federal bench.

It seems that the longer President Obama is in office, the more brazen Republicans get with their outright denial of his legitimacy. I imagine by the end of his second term, they will be bitching about him living in the White House or flying on Air Force One.

More from Steve Benen…

I hate to break this to Senate Republicans, but President Obama was elected — twice. Presidents submitting judicial nominations to the Senate to fill vacancies is pretty much the definition of normal presidential behavior. If the GOP finds this annoying, they’ll have to take it up with the Constitution.

Go read the entire piece, it goes into the dirty tricks Republicans are attempting to prevent President Obama from doing his job.

As The Economy Picks Up, the GOP’s Hostage Plans Have Been Foiled!

hostagenegListening 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.

Talking Post Election Politics On The Extremely Liberal Podcast

My apologies for the late posting of this podcast which was recorded on November 14, 2012. It’s still worth a listen, Republican stupidity hasn’t gone away, that’s for sure. We listen to and talk about the great rant that Rachel Maddow did on the day after the election plus lots of other good stuff. Give a listen.

To download the mp3, right click and “Save As” (98 mb).

Romney Pumping Gas Caption Contest!

Enter your best caption for this priceless photo of that guy who is not going to be our President, Willard Mitt Romney. If I get any great ones, I’ll move them up into the post. I haven’t been inspired quite yet. The best I’ve come up with so far is mumbling Mitt saying “If only I’d given out gifts”.

Give it YOUR best shot in the comment section. Ready, set, GO!

UPDATE:

Eurobrat has a good one. “So this is what a hangover feels like.”

More Liberal Gloating On A New Extremely Liberal Podcast!

This was recorded on November 8, 2012, two days after the election. It marks the return of my insightful friend and colleague John to chat it up about the historic day of November 6, 2012. Topics include: The Fox News meltdown, the fun of watching it on the tube, looking forward and many other things. It’s a good one.

To download the mp3, right click and “Save As” (94 mb).

WE DID IT, AMERICA – Hope Is Alive And Lies And Hatred Lost!

I couldn’t be more proud of this great country of America on this November 7, 2012. It is a monumental day in our history.

Personally, I’m not letting anyone rain on my parade today, any negativity will be greeted with a smile and positive words about our future.

My granddaughter wants to thank you for giving her a shot at a future – a Supreme Court that will protect her rights and a world where she has the same opportunities as men.

ONWARD!