Sunday, January 24, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
Posted by TrumanDem at 10:51 AM
Thursday, January 21, 2010
I felt the liberal perspective was being watered down to a more moderate/centrist dynamic with the gradual disappearance of each component of its original lineup. It finally reached the point around 2007 after bankruptcy filings and ownership changes where its progressive perspective was no longer viable as a liberal network outlet. The final nail in the coffin was when Al Franken left to run for the U.S. Senate and a self described raconteur named “Lionel” dropped into the future U.S. Senator’s prime slot from 3 – 6pm. The first pronouncement by this waste of airtime was he was not a liberal or progressive but a critic at large of all things political. In other words he presented a so called moderate view within the context of conservative framing of each issue he brought up or covered. It was at this point I decided I was done with the entire network.
By then I was rooting for its demise because of its continuous use of a false label of progressive programming under the guise of self-serving non-political personalities such as Montel Williams and others. I just wanted to blow the thing up and start over with a real network that served the liberal/progressive cause.
Currently former Republicans Ed Shultz and Stephanie Miller are the recognizable faces representing the liberal/progressive perspective. Both aren’t quite my cup of tea personality wise but I know the market has room for a such voices as Tom Hartman and Mike Mallory that would go along way toward moving some segments of the media away from right wing conservative issue framing and give the public a fresher view of progressive ideas and policy solutions.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
And the reason for the Senator’s almost devilish smile you might ask? The driving force of Mr. McConnell’s mile wide Republican smirk can be found in his hand: a staff memo on the minority party’s office letterhead condensing the current list of the post Massachusetts special election Senate race talking points from the Majority party. There, dancing across the bone white paper lightly balanced in his hand, is a line that is the source of his beaming Kentucky smile:
“It is mathematically impossible for Democrats to pass legislation on our own. Senate Republicans to come to the table with ideas for improving our nation and not obstructionist tactics.”
Ok, that’s not what’s really taking place right now, but the dynamics of the fictional picture above being painted and presented by the MSM along with the panicky public persona of the Democratic leadership in the wake of Martha Coakley’s loss in Massachusetts is. And in politics all perception is real. Even though the scenario I painted above is fictional the talking point isn’t. This talking point is not only real you can find others in a similar frame by the Democratic leadership here.
Let’s make this clear. The public perception of the electorate since the upset victory by Scott Brown of a panicky Democratic leadership is the frame being presented. The MSM’s picture they are painting of the above fictional relationship is real. And finally the MSM’s frame is as real as it gets as they continue to talk about how the Democratic leadership will now have to come to the Republicans with legislation that will get McConnell’s condescending nod of approval. In other words its all about what the Democratic leadership has to do, not the Republicans. Every issued tackled by the majority party will be within the context of conservative framing in the MSM regarding all fiscal matters connected with each initiative that will include tax cuts (what a surprise), spending cuts, deregulation, the funding and non funding mandates and so on. All of this with a 41 seat minority. That’s not only quite a feat, it one of stunning proportions. As a matter of fact that’s a feat unprecedented in our 220+ yr. History. Nice going Harry.
There is a running joke in the progressive blogosphere that all news no matter what is good news for the Republicans. The MSM’s conservative/GOP framing of the issues make it that way. Until the Democratic Party figures out how to change that landscape with an aggressive public posture and push their own issue framing they are in for a long painful ride as the opposing party no matter what status they are in. Harry Reid’s leadership to date has been a disaster perception wise. At this point and with his weak position in Nevada I don’t see a chance for it ever changing. I can’t recall ever being this disappointed in the Democratic Party. To make matters worse and even more infuriating the rogue Senator from CT, Joseph Lieberman, finds himself in a similar position of low popularity and high unfavorables back home (upper 30’s in some reports). Despite all this he has still managed to position himself as literally the most powerful man in the Senate. Yet, another historically unprecedented feat.
Until we somehow come up with new leadership I have a final suggestion for the beleaguered Harry Reid. Go out and find Robert Caro’s third volume book about Lyndon Johnson’s tenure as Majority leader: “Master of the Senate.” Mr. Reid should then use it like a “Majority Leadership For Dummies.” If ol’ LBJ were alive today in his prime and running the Senate his agenda would not only get passed he would make the Republicans like it with a smile. LBJ would make Mitch McConnell look like a red headed stepchild wondering how to please to get attention while he ran circles around him.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
The MSM meme of course will be the Democrats have to shift further right. They will still use GOP talking points to frame the issues to look “fair & balanced” and tell their viewers that if the Democrats don't follow suit on a host of issues with a shift to the right policy wise they are doomed. I’m still wondering why the GOP reaction to any win or loss is the same: to shift further right. The Democratic party seems to have the same reaction: shift rightward no matter the circumstances.
Finally, here’s my suggestion for the DNC: try shifting to more progressive policy solutions for once. Then maybe, just maybe there won’t be anymore Martha Coakley’s. And to the MSM and the Democratic partisan hand wringers: we’ve won three of the last four special federal elections since 2008: NY-20, NY-23 and CA-10. The Democratic party still has the power to control the debate if they would just use it. Call your Democratically elected official now and ask them to actually use the power they were handed in Nov. 2008. If not, get out of the way and let a progressive candidate do it.
Snyder, you'll recall, recently announced his retirement from Congress, with the speculation being that he'd been driven from the race by poor polling.Great. So now we have Wes Clark thinking about running instead. If that happens, well, thanks a lot, you moron "firebaggers!"
Of course, we don't really know where Clark's head is at right now. And is a House seat really the thing for him? There's already talk about a primary challenge to Blanche Lincoln from someone like Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (granted, we're the ones doing a lot of the talking), but it should also be noted that Halter lives in AR-02, and it's not like it hasn't been said that he's mulling that race instead
What about a little switch 'em up? Keep thing interesting?
Here’s just a quick example of the kind of progressive mind and thinking we need in the U.S. Senate from Clark’s own piece for the September, 2002 edition of the Washington Monthly on post 9/11 policies and the run up to the invasion of Iraq:
"Soon after September 11, without surrendering our right of self defense, we should have helped the United Nations create an International Criminal Tribunal on International Terrorism. We could have taken advantage of the outpourings of shock, grief, and sympathy to forge a legal definition of terrorism and obtain the indictment of Osama bin Laden and the Taliban as war criminals charged with crimes against humanity. Had we done so, I believe we would have had greater legitimacy and won stronger support in the Islamic world. We could have used the increased legitimacy to raise pressure on Saudi Arabia and other Arab states to cut off fully the moral, religious, intellectual, and financial support to terrorism. We could have used such legitimacy to strengthen the international
coalition against Saddam Hussein."
This brings me to the tea-bagger wanna be and current Republican candidate for Mel Martinez’s Senate seat Marco Rubio and his twitter feed. If one is to make a comparison with his rival, Gov. Charlie Crists’ twitter feed, you get quite a discrepancy between the mundane and the colorful. The interesting thing about Rubio’s tweets is his response to “attacks” from liberal bloggers (ahem…) and lefty Dems. I’m not writing this post to to do a serious piece on Rubio’s thinking process or deconstruct his right wing stances. Whenever he opens his mouth publicly he takes care of that. What I’m looking for is the comedic value. Let’s take a look at what possible comedic possibilities Rubio’s tweets might offer us:
"liberal bloggers and DEM operatives attacking me 4 opposing Obama bank tax "Never mind what haters say ignore them till they fade away #tcot"
Awww…until we fade away? How will that happen? Perhaps the next tweet might give us some insight…
"Will be @ gun show @ Lakeland Center at 12:15 today. Then Tea Party in Citrus County @ Old Ct House in Inverness @ 3. #sayfie"
Guess there is some wishful thinking on his part…at least for those supporters at the event and those tea baggers…and what’s the best way to get connect with these supporters? Why how else…not through the liberal media? No way, better pick some “fair & balanced” coifs to do that…
"Check out my interview w/CNBC's Kudlow: http://bit.ly/8mDlLa 3:35 PM Jan 14th "
"I will be a guest on the Glenn Beck radio show today. You can listen @http://www.glennbeck.com/content/radio/ after 11 a.m. Eastern #sayfie 10:24 AM Jan 14"
"Will be on Kudlow Report at 7:40 on CNBC #sayfie 6:40 PM Jan 12th from Echofon "
"Will be on Fox Biz channel at 6pm with Cavuto. #sayfie"
I’m sorry I missed these. I’m wondering if Beck cried for him on the show. Better yet, wonder if ol’ Beckaroo could get Marco to cry with him…
Ah, yes. Then there is that you tube video from his supporters:
"Heard about youtube video using Hitler. It's offensive & grotesque I ask supporters not to forward & hope msm does not promote it. #sayfie 9:14 PM Oct 27th, 2009 from Echofon"
C’mon Marco! Republican big tent…remember? Oh that’s right, that’s a Crist meme. Can’t be like that. And besides with the # of non-white faces at those tea bagger events you should have no problem fitting everyone under your one size fits all tent.
Posted by TrumanDem at 10:43 AM
Monday, January 18, 2010
What prompted this post was Digby’s piece over at Hullabaloo citing FDL’s Blue Texan discussion of Scott Brown’s anti evolution stance in the Massachusetts Senate Race. Back in 2005 Digby wrote a piece about how the GOP was being held hostage by the rank and files’ European Middle Ages’ world view of a literal theological doctrinaire belief of the book of Genesis and its creationists story:
“[…] Ben Adler asked a bunch of leading conservative intellectuals whether they believed in evolution. As far as I can tell only about half of them have any intellectual integritywhatsoever, and only one is definitively honest in my opinion: Charles Krauthamer, if you can believe that. Richard Brookheiser and William F Buckley get honorable mentions.Remember, these are highly educated people. The problem is not that they may believe in God or have a religious view of the origins of the universe. That is quite easily explained. It's the weaselly, mushy way they try to divert the question elsewhere or explain what they know is a ridiculous position. It's as if they are all terribly afraid that James Dobson might read TNR and berate them for not having a religiously correct fundamentalist view. William Kristol, as always, is the slickest guy around.
[…]And these are the people who railed against campus political correctness. What do you suppose it's like to be intellectually held hostage by people who you know for a fact are dead wrong on something? It must be excruciating.”
One has to wonder why evolution is still denied by such a large body of citizens in light of the Catholic Church’s record on the denial of scientific truth (i.e. Galileo). If one believes in the literal interpretation of Creation in the book of Genesis then one must also deny Galileo’s view of the universe where the Sun is not the center of the universe where the Earth actually revolves around the Sun and not vice versa. I am appalled that a large percentage of the American electorate still wants to hold these Middle Ages’ beliefs at the expense of scientific advancement (i.e. stem cell research). It just doesn’t seem logical to me to accept these other scientific truths while denying others that are based on the same scientific research methods.
This isn’t even the most bothersome thing about this. Let me conclude with a quote from a commenter on Digby’s post about intelligent design:
“I recall years ago reading some statistic about how like 80% of the Chinese believed in evolution like 40% of Americans.
It's probably more like 95/25 these days.
I await the arrival of our Chinese overlords any day now.”
Sunday, January 17, 2010
This is what makes the health care reform debate even more infuriating. Forget the argument that along with South Africa we were the only two nations left in the world without a national/universal health care system. Now that South Africa finally threw the towel in on that one we’re all that’s left standing. Forget that entire line of argument for it means nothing to the conservative mind. According to the “Party of Life” or the “Party of Family Values” the only good ideas in the world come only from the conservative American mind. So the idea that the rest of the world is on to something isn’t open for discussion. The thing that continues to leave me open mouthed in amazement though is why the GOP or rabid conservative proponent isn’t called for what they are if you take the logic of their argument to its logical conclusion: they are the “Party of Life / Family Values”…with a price. For some reason liberals or progressive will not call them on this with the exception of a lone elected official or two who is immediately labeled as a loon or extreme. Rep. Alan Grayson comes to mind.
If their argument is health care is a privilege and not a right then what they are saying is your life has a monetary price or value affixed. The longevity of your life is based on weather or not you get sick or ill and have the means to pay for care. Otherwise, you are expendable to the community at large. The comical thing about this is the Darwinian view of natural selection based on good health and the means to pay for health care they have in a party that doesn’t believe in evolution. If one would like to connect this to their “pro-life” frame in context of the argument of being anti abortion then it becomes even more insane. Have the baby. Then the Darwinian view of natural selection will kick in. You can live as long as you can afford it medically. In other words your life is a commodity like something you find on a shelf in a mall. That’s some “Party of Life” value they have there.
I’m still trying to reconcile 43 million Americans being without health care and untold millions that have health care coverage that is inadequate and based on a pre-existing condition trapping them in a job that may not pay as well as a job they could be getting putting more money into an economy based on consumer spending. The logic here is insane. Not only that with this many uninsured Americans and people trapped in a catch 22 situation with regards to the flawed coverage they do have how is it the body electorate isn’t feeling the pressure to do something about universal health care. Will it take a larger crisis and a more bankrupt system to move it toward fruition? My only conclusion is yes. But my final question is how many people will have to die unnecessarily before that happens? Apparently, a lot.
Liberals and progressives will continue to try to find candidates to run for office that believe otherwise. Then maybe, just maybe, they will have the wherewithal to finger and label the GOP for what they are: the party that puts a price on human life. Meanwhile us “bleeding heart” liberals will continue to look at human life for what it is value wise: priceless.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
The most unsurprising aspect of what we have been teased with is just how much of a hack both Halperin and Heilmen seems to be. Their writing style comes straight out of the Maureen Dowd School of heavy handed and churlish dependence on a high school worldview of personalities. One can only imagine if Theodore White or Hugh Sidey were still alive today to see the road their profession has taken. They would both be reaching for Kevorkian’s work on painless suicide to escape the pain and crushing disappointment over how the profession they devoted their whole lives to is now pilloried with talentless hacks with juvenile deductive abilities and an appetite for the prurient.
Let’s take a look at two examples we’ve been teased with so far: John & Elizabeth Edwards and Sarah Palin. To be fair about my own prejudices and bias I was an Edwards supporter. He was my first choice over both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. There is no doubt there is some truth to the assertions Halperin and Heilman make. My question to both of these low life night crawlers is this: how really hard was it to attack and sully Elizabeth Edwards’ public persona? We are presented with a woman who has been handed a potential medical death sentence with the type of cancer she has and this was followed by revelations her husband was a philanderer. I’m not sure how hard it was to dig up dirt on a woman whose life and family are falling apart right before her eyes. How was she supposed to react to all of this? With dignified stoicism and emotionless aplomb? Not everyone is made the same way and we all have different ways dealing with life and death situations when we have been handed one. The question you will never hear from Chris Matthews or any of his ilk is how the deconstruction of the Edwards marriage gives us insight to the political dynamic that leads to electability and/or governing?
As for John Edwards, is it really news that he might have a somewhat phony public persona and isn’t really the humble southern lawyer he presented to the public? For students of the American political process and the junkies that follow this stuff its not news or a revelation that having a certain level of phoniness is inherent to the political profession. One might delve into the degree and level of phoniness the candidate possesses but is it really news? As a supporter of John Edwards I expected two things. First, that he had a progressive agenda he would follow through on if elected. Second, that he be as informed as possible about world affairs with some original ideas and the history of the American political process indicating an awareness of who and what we are as a people. He was fulfilling those requirements I was looking for. When it was revealed that the flaws he is endowed with not only made his electability problematic but would interfere with his ability to govern I was ready to move on. Yeah, I was disappointed and hurt but that’s part of being engaged in the political process and putting an emotional investment in a candidate.
John Edwards’ relationship with his wife isn’t for me to sit in judgment of. Everyone’s marriage is different and personal not open to public approval. These two guys write as though they are two junior high school students delighting and smirking over an intimate personal relationship and the fragile dynamics that take place when they don’t live up to the expectations between the two people involved. Again, writing about this stuff says volumes about who they are and who they want to appeal to.
Then there is Sarah Palin. If one is to take some of the things about the Edwards’ with a grain of salt the same has to happen regarding the right wing Wasilla Queen of the low informed voter. The picture they paint of her as being ignorant of basic American history and the political process is not news. I sure as hell didn’t need these two sewer dwellers to tell me she was the epitome of an incurious amalgamation of right wing cliché’s with little understanding of what they all mean coupled with an uninformed background of basic world affairs. The problem Steve Schmidt found himself with is it didn’t matter how much information they jammed her head with, it was all out of context for her because she never bothered to find out how the world works and how we as a people all arrived to where we are today. This is news? The Katie Couric interview alone revealed all of that in spades. I didn’t need these two dimwits to pile on more evidence. The descriptions reserved for her inside the dynamics of the McCain campaign would be easy to believe for anti Palinistas such as myself. But really, McCain’s campaign came to despise her and we should believe everything that comes out of their mouths?
Sunday, January 03, 2010
"Here's the thing about the naughts: there was nothing magic about the numbers. It wasn't because of a double-zero in the middle of the dates that we launched an invasion that's cost the lives of thousands of Americans, the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and a trillion dollars plus out of the pocketbooks of taxpayers. We launched into that still unresolved idiocy because of bad policy based on the conservative
philosophy of smash things first, think never. We went there because of a extreme version of American exceptionalism, one that views America as above the the rules of law and exempt from questions of morality. A view that says not only if the president does it, it's not a crime, but that if America does it, it can't be wrong.
It wasn't the decade that caused the economy to come down in tatters. It was a conservative approach to the marketplace that views government as the enemy, greed as the only acceptable motivation, and the only solution for disasters brought on by a lack of regulation as still less regulation.
It wasn't the calendar that brought down the banks, or American manufacturing, or American's influence around the world. It wasn't the date that added torture to the list of growth industries while erasing our budget surplus.
Don't forget the naughts, because this decade, no matter what anyone on the right might say, was conservatism on trial. You want less taxes? You got less taxes. You want less regulation? You got less regulation. Open markets? Wide open. An illusuion of security in place of rights? Hey, presto. Think we should privatize war by handing unlimited power given to military contractors so they can kick butt and
take names? Kiddo, we passed out boots and pencils by the thousands. Everything, everything, that ever showed up on a drooled-over right wing wish list got implemented -- with a side order of Freedom Fries.
They will try to disown it, and God knows if I was responsible for this mess I'd be disowning it, too. But the truth is that the conservatives got everything they wanted in the decade just past, everything that they've claimed for forty years would make America "great again". They didn't fart around with any "red dogRepublicans." They rolled over their moderates and implemented a conservative dream.
What did we get for it? We got an economy in ruins, a government in massive debt, unending war, and the repudiation of the world. There's no doubt that Republicans want you to forget the last decade, because if you remember... if you remember when you went down to the water hole and were jumped by every lunacy that ever emerged from the wet dreams of Grover Norquist and Dick Cheney, well, it's not likely that you'd give them a chance to do it again.
And they will. Given half a chance -- less than half -- they'll do it again, only worse. Because that's the way conservatism works. Remember when the only answer to every economic problem was "cut taxes?" We have a surplus. Good, let's cut taxes. We have a deficit. Hey, cut taxes even more! That little motto was unchanging even when was clear that the tax cuts were increasing the burden on everyone but a wealthy few. That's just a subset of the great conservative battle whine which is now and forever "we didn't go far enough." If deregulation led to a crash, it's because we didn't deregulate enough. If the wars aren't won, it's because
we haven't started enough wars. If there are people still clinging to their rights, it's because we haven't done enough to make them afraid.
Forget the naughts, and you'll forget that conservatives had another chance to prove all their ideas, and that their ideas utterly and completely failed. Again."
"I don't deny that the corporate Democrats are screwed up too. But they didn't invent this political world. As I
quipped before, they just learned to stop worrying and love the money. This world of graft and corruption and unfettered greed was the conservative movement's idea of utopia. And they got it.
REGISTERED VOTERS AS OF 05/30/2008
A 1% gain for the Democratic Party here over this 18 month period is nothing to write home about. In fact if there is any news in this comparative at all, it would be how the Duval County Republican party has managed to stave off disaster by avoiding a tsunami of voter registration discontent and it translating into a widening shift in the gap of party ID and growth. If the last eight years could not drive a widening gap in this regard then I'm not sure its possible to make it happen under any circumstances. George W. Bush by any stretch of imagination was an unmitigated disaster of a President and for Republicans in general. There is not doubt that this led to a loss of both houses for the Republicans but just barely when one takes the time to analyze the numbers for real world impact.
The Democrats still have a lot of work to do to redeem themselves. At this point in the game redemption would only mitigate losses to a minimum, not stop them. Let's hope the Democrats have it in them. Only time will tell.
When the mainstream media decided in the first Presidential debate of 2000 that Al Gore's sigh(s) determined the suitability of who would make a better President it turned out the joke was on the voters. Its as if Bush was representative of all the intrusive advertising practices of the last fifty years that Madison Ave. could dream up was forced upon us with an election result that wasn't quite what it seemed. Even though most of us didn't buy the bill of goods that was being marketed to us we still wound up with the lemon. Buyer's remorse for those who bought into the product's promises got the true meaning of what a lemon tastes like. Especially the families of the military who's loved ones were either killed or maimed. As for the Nobel Laureate Al Gore it turns out that he was as advertised: a deliberate intellectual who wasn't the guy you wanted to have a beer with but the guy you wanted running the country. Though the MSM kept pushing the "who would you rather have a brew with" meme as a criteria selection for the leader of the free world I thought it was an odd theme to run with since the guys I do have beers with on occasion would be the very individuals I wouldn't want anywhere near running a government. I'm still looking forward to his contributions for the next decade.
President Obama, who rolled into office with a wagon load of promise still has a long road to travel. Though he was not my first candidate of choice for 2008 I still felt I was casting a vote for the things I was hoping he would do, not for things I was certain he wouldn't do. I am very disappointed so far with his handling of health care reform and his, to date, awkward and lumbering governing abilities. Hopefully, he will regain the graceful stride he showed during the campaign and give me a promising reason to vote for him again instead of casting a vote for for the things I'm sure he won't do.
The legacy of Edward Kennedy is something that will seemingly take care of itself despite the failure of Democrats to enact the reforms Ted Kennedy envisioned. He was the last of a dynasty that literally gave their lives for what they believed.
We need more to hope for than intact dignities. Let's hope the next decade brings it to us.