Howard Dean: "I'm not a fan of primarying President Obama, If I were I'd do it myself"

Howard Dean: "I'm not a fan of primarying President Obama, If I were I'd do it myself"


Why Does Barack Obama Love the Establishment So Much?

These are hopeful days. The four horsemen of the establishment look like they are leaving the White House. Peter Orszag, who apparently was the most conservative of them all (and who just lobbied for more tax cuts for the rich), has left his position as head of the Office of Management and Budget. Larry Summers is leaving his position as director of National Economic Council. Rahm Emanuel might be out by October. And Tim Geithner is also rumored to be leaving after the election.

There are hardly four Democrats in the whole country who were more pro-establishment, anti-change, pro-corporate power, pro-Wall Street than those four. I'm being literal. Bob Rubin might break into the top four, maybe Evan Bayh, maybe Harold Ford, Jr. But the four that are leaving the White House are undoubtedly in the top ten most corporate friendly Democrats in the country.

So, that leads to the question of why did Obama pick them in the first place? Why did the guy who promised to change the whole system bring in the guys who are most wedded to the system? Why does Barack Obama love the establishment so much?

This is no longer an academic question. In the words of President Obama, I don't want to look backward, I want to look forward. This is the time for hope. So, all of these guys are leaving and I am perfectly happy to let bygones be bygones. The real question is -- who is going to replace them?

Unfortunately, so far the answers aren't good. Jacob Lew has been nominated to be the head of the OMB. During his Senate hearings he said this about deregulation:

"[T]he problems in the financial industry preceded deregulation ... [I] personally [don't] know the extent to which deregulation drove it, but I don't believe that deregulation was the proximate cause."

That's crazy. Saying deregulation was not the proximate cause of the economic crash is like saying if you jump out of a building gravity will not be the proximate cause of your death. I've had many Republicans on our show that have admitted deregulating the banks so they could take enormous risk was not a good idea. Lew's position is beyond Republican.

Some might think that Lew is motivated to take that position by his former (and possible future) employer, Citigroup. They paid him millions of dollars when he was an executive there, including a $950,000 bonus after Citigroup got bailed out by taxpayer money. But I don't think Lew is driven by personal greed (though I don't know the man, I'm just giving him the benefit of the doubt). I think he is the product of his context. He lives in the Washington/Wall Street bubble. And inside that bubble, everybody gets rich off of deregulation and it makes perfect sense to them.

So, why does Obama keep insisting on hiring within that bubble? Now, we hear that Summers replacement is likely to be a corporate executive because Obama feels he has been criticized for being anti-business. That is unreal. How easy is this guy to manipulate? Or does he want to be manipulated in that direction?

Who is calling Obama anti-business? The same Wall Street guys who robbed us of billions (some would argue trillions) and want to do it again. Why on God's green earth would you continue to listen to those guys?

Yes, they have some lackeys in the establishment press, too. I'm sure Mark Halperin would write a blistering article if Obama dared to pick an actual progressive to fill any of these positions. But my God man, why in the world would you give a damn what Mark Halperin and his DC buddies think?

You're losing the whole American population while trying to cater to these clowns. Get your head out of ... the DC/NY bubble. The rest of the country doesn't think you're too tough on business; they think you haven't done enough to help them -- the middle class.

So, I ask this as an earnest question -- why is Barack Obama obsessed with appeasing the establishment? Was he being completely disingenuous when he ran on change? How could he possibly have thought that Larry Summers or the corporate executive who might replace him would bring us real change?

Look, I ask all of this not to complain or because I am part of the so-called "professional left" but because it matters to the very important decisions he is about to make.

For example, if he picked Howard Dean to replace Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, we would all know we were going in the right direction. Not because Dean is a panacea, but because it would mean that Obama is getting serious about change and taking on the power establishment.

You know Dean would stand up for the middle class. You know all of the political pundits in DC would hate him. Now, does anyone think Obama has the courage to defy Washington conventional wisdom and appoint Dean? That's what I thought. Even if you love Obama with all of your heart, you know he'd never have the guts to pick Dean. That would make Washington and New York very angry with him. And he hates that. He has to be loved by those guys. They're the ones in his bubble.

I ask all of these questions because I am desperate to figure out how we can get President Obama to deliver on the change he promised so we can finally deliver for the middle class in this country instead of the wealthy and powerful that surround the president in Washington. What makes him tick? How can we get him to fall out of love with the establishment? How can we get him to have the courage to govern like he ran for office -- with passion and conviction to help all of us instead of the Washington power elite?

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Miss Him Yet?!

There’s something terribly shocking taking place and I must admit a failure to anticipate it this soon: The creeping rehabilitation of George W. Bush. He was a uniquely failed president. So miserable was he, his popularity collapsed (not over anything huge, except the negligent loss of an iconic American city) less than a year into his second term. And his crushing unpopularity never relented. Quite the contrary—on January 20, 2009, minutes after his successor had been sworn in, millions of his erstwhile subjects treated the 43rd president to an iconic farewell.

As testament to our collective amnesia, many are now insisting the semi-retarded ersatz cowboy doesn’t look like such an ogre in the rearview mirror. Apparently this includes polite company like Peter Beinart, Mo Dowd, and Eugene Robinson.

Byron York had the story in the Washington Examiner a couple of days ago:

"It's time for W. to weigh in," writes the New York Times' Maureen Dowd. Bush, Dowd explains, understands that "you can't have an effective war against the terrorists if it is a war on Islam." Dowd finds it "odd" that Obama seems less sure on that matter. But to set things back on the right course, she says, "W. needs to get his bullhorn back out" -- a reference to Bush's famous "the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!" speech at Ground Zero on September 14, 2001.

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson is also looking for an assist from Bush. "I…would love to hear from former President Bush on this issue," Robinson wrote Tuesday in a Post chat session. "He held Ramadan iftar dinners in the White House as part of a much broader effort to show that our fight against the al-Qaeda murderers who attacked us on 9/11 was not a crusade against Islam. He was absolutely right on this point, and it would be helpful to hear his views."

And Peter Beinart, a former editor of the New Republic, is also feeling some nostalgia for the former president. "Words I never thought I'd write: I pine for George W. Bush," Beinart wrote Tuesday in The Daily Beast. "Whatever his flaws, the man respected religion, all religion." Beinart longs for the days when Bush "used to say that the 'war on terror' was a struggle on behalf of Muslims, decent folks who wanted nothing more than to live free like you and me…"

Karl Rove even relinquished his butterscotch scone long enough to chime in:

For the moment, with Obama failing to live up to expectations, Bush-bashing is over. It's all a little amusing -- and perhaps a little maddening -- for some members of the Bush circle. When I asked Karl Rove to comment, he responded that it means "redemption is always available for liberals and time causes even the most stubborn of ideologues to revisit mistaken judgments." But won't these Bush critics shortly return to criticizing Bush? "This Bush swoon by selected members of the left commentariat is temporary," Rove answered. "Their swamp fevers will return momentarily."

There's more...

Momentum in Open Race for VT-Gov

By now you know I've pushing progressive candidate Matt Dunne for the open Vermont governorship. Vermont hasn't had a progressive Governor since Howard Dean, and Matt's got the right background to win this tough election and the right ideas to govern.

His campaign has had some major momentum this week. First, with the first newspaper endorsement of the cycle, the Addison County Independent has embraced Matt Dunne:

Matt Dunne, however, is the candidate at the crossroads of this new generation. He gets it, understands its power and the opportunities waiting to be tapped, can articulate what is both practical and promising, and can set the state on a path to seize that new energy.

While we have no doubt that others could lead the state well, we think Dunne’s unique background as a community developer for Google, his leadership under President Clinton with Ameri-Corps, his family connection to Vermont’s dairy farming will provide a new kind of leadership style that will forge alliances — not for political purposes (a benefit of not being part of the current political leadership) — but for the betterment of the state. Finally, of all the candidates, his vision and intuition perfectly match the times....

We not only think he can do the job, he’s the candidate to help the state seize the day for the next decade and for our sons’ and daughters’ futures. Vote Matt Dunne for governor in the upcoming Democratic primary.

The endorsement follows the campaign's announcement that they met the fundraising goals they'd set for a drive that ended Tuesday night. This means they'll be on television with their first ad soon.

The primary is just a couple weeks away, and absentee ballots are already out. With a low turnout expected, GOTV and final fundraising will make the difference. Please help Matt out at ActBlue.

Matt also used this week to unveil a detailed economic plan for Vermont.

Climate Hero McKibben on the Midterms

Bill McKibben knows a thing or two about overwhelming opposition.

McKibben is a scholar-in-residence at Vermont's Middlebury College (my first choice until they wait listed me!) and the author of the first book about climate change for a general audience, 1989's The End of Nature. In 2006, McKibben organized the largest protest against climate change in American history, and was apalled to learn that it was the largest in American history. All it was was him getting on the phone to call some friends, then getting together to walk across the state. THAT was the largest in history? So he launched, which has organized thousands of rallies in hundreds of countries in just two years, including 5,200 actions on just one organized day in 2009.

One electoral race McKibben has gotten involved with this cycle is VT-Gov. McKibben has endorsed Google executive and former state senator Matt Dunne, and climate isn't even the central tenant of Matt's campaign (that would be jobs). Matt is currently in the middle of a massive fundraising drive, and needs just $34,855 more by Tuesday night to air his first TV ads. We need those ads - Vermont hasn't had a progressive Governor since Howard Dean.

McKibben is an international figure now, but cares enough about Matt's campaign - even though he'd never Matt before - to attend small house parties in the traditional New England style. Here's a video he recorded at such a party urging folks to support Matt so he can raise "enough money to be able to compete with the reeeeally rich guys... That doesn't require tons of money; it does require everybody doing their part."

Please watch, then donate at MyDD's ActBlue page. No, I'm not employed by the Dunne campaign - in fact, I'm unemployed, and yet I'm still donating to Matt. I believe in his message just that much. Below the fold, McKibben's original endorsement, a much higher-quality video.

There's more...


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