Pelosi Still Afraid to Take On Bush On the Economy

... Let's face it, we can only have a stimulus package if the President is willing to sign one.  But we can only go as far as the President will sign.

That's House Speaker Nancy Pelosi starting the negotiations on a second stimulus package by giving away the farm.

There's an old story in Texas about a young man whose daddy has sent him to trade horses on his own for the first time. He meets a wise old sharpie and the guy says, "So how much do you want for that horse son?" The kid answers: "Well Daddy told me to ask for $100 but to take $50.""That's great kid, here's $50, give your daddy my regards."

That's what the Congressional Democrats do EVERY TIME.

While every stop is being pulled out to save the Wall Street "Masters of the Universe", state governments across the nation are being pulled into an economic black hole. It's no surprise that President Bush doesn't care, but its very frustrating to see Pelosi being complicit in his indifference.

She's apparently telegraphing her willingness to throw the states over the side. Why not make the most unpopular president in history veto a bill that would be popular just in time for the election?

Not having a vote on a strong economic recovery package is bad politics. Bad terrible awful dumb politics.  What's the point of electing Democratic Members to Congress if they won't stand up for Americans even when the President won't?

Newsflash to the Democrats on Capitol Hill, this is the perfect time to force some Republicans up for re-election to put themselves on the record as opposing a package to save the economy.

But Pelosi doesn't get that concept. Instead she wants to pass something on the first go and she's so eager to please the president that shes pre-gutting a second stimulus package. Even though she's talking a good game to the press:

Pelosi renewed her vow to try to pass a stimulus measure that would combine billions of dollars for jobs-producing infrastructure projects, more food stamps, additional Medicaid aid to states, home heating subsidies and a further extension of unemployment insurance.

Persistent rumors from Capitol Hill indicate that she's telling the White House that she's willing to throw the Medicaid aid to states overboard.

Should we settle for a bill that only goes halfway in addressing the economic crisis? No. We did that once, earlier this year, and the first stimulus package failed.

This has been on the table for a long time. The same experts who said the first economic stimulus package failed also said aid to states needs to be in the next stimulus:

If a second round of stimulus is necessary, other options that should be on the table. These include payments to states that will need to cut spending because of balanced budget provisions as their tax revenue falls.

And in a letter to House Leadership in late January as the first stimulus package was being prepared, a bipartisan group of 39 Governors "requested that state aid be included in the stimulus:

The nation's governors urge you to include state countercyclical funding as part of your legislation to stimulate the economy.

...

In 2003, Congress approved $20 billion in assistance to states, including $10 billion in Medicaid and $10 billion in block grants. The governors' current stimulus proposal is essentially the same, with the exception that it is a total of $12 billion as opposed to $20 billion. This proposal can be enacted quickly, as there is precedent and it is timely, temporary and targeted.

The plan is there, we know what is needed to help dig us out of this economic muck, and potentially shield the states from further dramatic losses if Wall Street keeps acting up. Our mentality shouldn't be "take what we can get" it should be "this is what we need, this is what will pass." If Republicans want to vote against improving the economy, let them explain it to the voters.

It's time to have a clear vote on a real, working economic stimulus package. It's time to show voters there's a real difference between Democrats and Republicans.

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Drill, Nancy, Drill?

(Cross-posted at Ecoble.com)

You may well be wondering - why the heck is Nancy Pelosi pushing through a bill that allows for offshore drilling? Isn't that against everything we're supposed to stand for? Is this another example of business-as-usual betraying core Democratic principles?

Alas, sometimes green areas fall in grey areas. Here's the scoop:

Where's the fire? Why rush it through now?

The offshore drilling ban, in place now for decades, has a "sunset provision". It has to be renewed every few years.

Unless a bill is passed, the ban expires on September 30. At which point... Bush could immediately hand out leases anywhere he wants to.

So, we need a bill, and a bill that can pass, by September 30....

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Blue Dogs Hold Up Impeachment and an Obama Win

The light went completely on as to who is using these anti-impeachment arguments on the Democrats when I read this article.  Obama deserves a better party than this.  Rob Kall on HuffPo says:


It's time the Democrats in Congress did what the vast majority of democrats want, and the constitution demands-- impeachment hearings for Cheney and Bush.

I've had a chance, over the past few months, to get a feel for this. I commissioned a Zogby poll which found that a big majority of Democrats wanted impeachment. I've spoken at local democratic meetings and the support for impeachment is always close to unanimous. Even at the recent Obama unity even, when I asked the 25 people in attendance if they thought Bush and Cheney should be impeached, the response was unanimous.

But Nancy Pelosi won't put impeachment "on the table." And John Conyers has offered some pathetically weak arguments on why he should not hold impeachment hearings, including the shameful argument that it will produce and adverse reaction from the right wing.

The fact is, congress's ratings are at an all time single digit low-- a well deserved rating, primarily due to the hijacking of the Democratic party by it's bluedog wing. These right wing DINOs (Democrats in name only,) led by Stenny Hoyer, have sold out The "Dem" bluedogs have sold out the Democrats who voted for them again and again. Glenn Greenwald has written about what to do about them recently. Let's give "Blue Dogs" the boot.

But meanwhile, I think the bluedogs are the reason Nancy Pelosi and John Conyers are refusing to act upon the evidence Dennis Kucinich and all the people who testified in front of the House Judiciary committee last Friday, at the pseudo impeachment hearings.

The brutal fact is, and I do believe it's a fact, impeachment hearings offer the Democrats the best chance they have of not only insuring Obama's victory, but also for taking 60 seats in the Senate.

First, I'm talking about hearings. There's no need to rush to a vote in the senate. The successful efforts to dump corrupt White house administration people never reached the senate. Both Spiro Agnew and Richard Nixon were forced to resign because of HEARINGS.

The recent ruling that Harriet Meirs must testify before the House Judiciary Committee in September gives HJC Chairman Conyers the chance to do exactly what former congresswoman Liz Holtzman suggested in the near-impeachment hearings last month.  Holtzman back in the '70s was on Judiciary when they were impeaching Nixon.  Conyers would say, "this is an impeachment inquiry" which means there can be no pardons or claims of executive privilege.  To do so is automatically impeachable, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars.  Bush claims Executive Privilege, there is only one way to vote.  Now you have Holtzman's "Twofer", both Bush and Cheney gone.  

This has always been a matter of political will.  The charges, crimes and evidence have always been there.  How long will this party's agenda, and talking points, be run by Democrats who should be registered Republicans, who are allowed to flout party-line votes continually without being disciplined by the leadership, without ever losing committee seats?  They should be given places of honor at the Republican convention taking place right now for all the wonderful things they have done for them.

Kall winds up:

Ask most of the Democratic party members of congress and you get a unified front -- the talking point that they don't want to waste the Congress' time. This is pure garbage -- an affront to the constitution they continue to allow to be violated by Bush and Cheney and their appointees, as the news demonstrates with new examples every day.It's time, and its the right, smart thing for the Dems to do.

But even beyond what Kall contends is an incorrect analysis by Blue Dogs of how impeachment would affect Democrats, there is a point where we must rise above the partisan politics and unite to defend what belongs to all of us, the Constitution and our constitutional rights.  Bruce Fein of the Reagan administration, in the July 25th hearings, said Bush and Cheney are eminently impeachable and that it could be swift.  Fein, a lifelong Republican, said he "never felt prouder to be an American" than when he saw Richard Nixon resign.  Fein called the Nixon impeachment "immensely unifying." Nixon broke the law, and the law applied equally to everyone.

Fein said this impeachment would differ because the Bush offenses are so "open and notorious," requiring little investigation.  

Let's face it, pro-choicers are never going to convince all pro-lifers to switch, and anti-illegal immigration activists are not going to agree with proponents of amnesty.  We Americans are a squabbling tribe, and we will always go back to being so.  But we can unite for this magic moment.  Impeachment will not divide, it will unite.  This is a holiday weekend.  Pick up the phone and leave a message at your congressman's office.  If nothing else, you can answer your grandchildren, far in the future, if things go bad and we live through endless wars against invisible enemies, lawless administrations which have seized upon the Bush precedent, when they ask:  Did you do anything to try to stop this?  Back when it was just beginning?  Did you try to stop the men who started doing these things?  At least you can tell your grandchildren, yes, it wasn't much, but I did call my congressman and said: "impeach them." It wasn't much, but I did it.

On Tuesday morning let the congressmen return from their vacations and conventions to find voice-mailboxes chock-full with renewed demands for democracy.  Chairman Conyers must not miss this opportunity.  Leave a message and say: "When Meirs testifies, as she must, declare this is a formal impeachment inquiry. Conyers must say the word." This closes the door to the administration's plan to blanket-pardon itself into the sunset, leaving 4200 fine Americans dead over lies, their families heartbroken and with children who will never know their fathers or mothers, unmeasured carnage among civilians who did not attack us, a spat-upon Constitution, and an economy broken for the benefit of the newly  rich at Halliburton.  Don't believe the Blue Dogs.  They are not on your side, nor on Obama's.

Your congressman/woman

Bruce Fein: Impeachment was "immensely unifying."

video which has footage of Bush Cheney etc. saying one thing at one time then exactly the opposite at another.

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EMILY's List: Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Nancy Pelosi

Todd and I are both here... should be very cool. Watch it here:

Live streaming video by Ustream

Update [2008-8-26 16:8:14 by Todd Beeton]:It's pretty crazy here. The room seats 2600, they've given away 2500 tickets plus media. A lot of sad reporters were left without credentials. Thanks, EMILY's List for hooking us up.

I spoke with EMILY's List Political Director Jonathan Parker yesterday, which I'll write up at greater length, but their essential mission is to elect Democratic pro-choice women. On the big screens in the room are pictures and brief profiles of some of the candidates they've endorsed this cycle including Linda Stender in NJ-07, Annette Taddeo in FL-18, Mary Jo Kilroy in OH-15, Darcy Burner in WA-08, Sam Bennett in PA-15, Road to 60 Senate candidate Kay Hagan (NC), Christine Jennings in FL-13, Jill Derby in NV-02 and the list literally goes on and on.

------------------------------- Ellen Malcolm;s remarks over the flip.

There are signs everywhere that say "When Women Vote, Democrats win." That is essential to the message today. As Malcolm said, women are key to achieving a progressive majority.

Ellen Malcolm introduced MD Senator Barbara Mikulski who is freakin awesome. She was the first Democratic woman elected in her own right to the senate and EMILY's List was instrumental in that race. As Mikulski said: "Early money is like yeast: it helps raise more dough!"

More huge applause at the mention of Michelle.

Mikulski is now introducing Hillary Clinton. "I was a proud supporter of Hillary Clinton and was a national co-chair of her campaign and I remain an admirer...Now we are ready to turn the page. I stood with Hillary on the floor of the senate in support of equal pay for equal work. I stood there with Barack Obama. John McCain didn't even bother to show up. I stood there with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama shoulder to shoulder and that's how we need to stand now." Hillary's entering and the place is GOING NUTS.

And it won't stop.

Hillary's remarks over the flip.

Nancy Pelosi's remarks over the flip.

WA Gov. Christine Gregoire is introducing Michelle Obama. "Her husband calls her the rock of the campaign. Malia and Sascha simply call her 'Mom.'"

Michelle has taken the stage. This place really loves her.

Michelle Obama's remarks:

"...and finally, thank you to Senator Clinton. No one has been more gracious, more forthcoming and more helpful to me than Senator Clinton. She and her family have been gracious, they've offered me help and advice...it is because of her candidacy, she broke so many stereotypes, she got rid of the notion that a woman can not be president. Those days are over, those days are gone. She has offered my daughters and all of our daughters a different notion of what they can become."

Michelle too paid tribute to Stephanie Tubbs Jones.

Colorado granted women the right to vote a full 27 years before congress ratified it. "It was also the first state to implement it through voter initiative."

"What a shining example of how people can bring out the best in each other...Today, let's celebrate how far we've come and how deep our shared capacity is to break through any barriers that stand in the way of progress in this nation."

"Haven't we proven that something is changing in this nation?"

"What we have seen is that people are hungry for change. And in two days, we're going to make a little more history when we will nominate Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States. As you can imagine, I'm one proud spouse...I know with every fiber of my being that he is going to be an amazing president."

"I am speaking as an American and I will say this time and time again: who loves my country."

Michelle is talking about how Barack wants to close the gap between the world as it is and the world as it should be.

"That anyone who puts in a hard day's work should be able to raise a family.

An economy that works not just on Wall St. but on Main St. as well.

In the world as it should be, women are given equal pay for equal work. Employers are held accountable for pay discrimination.

In the world as it should be, every woman should be able to make her own choice about whether or when to become a parent. That is a sacred choice and the government should have no say." Huge applause.

"The truth is, he can't do it alone...He said this race can not be about him, it has to be about us. We are going to need every single one of you in this room fighting for this and standing with us and praying for us. When we leave Denver, we're going to need you to go back, talk to your friends and knock on doors...There's nothing more powerful than the conversations you have with each other."

"And if you don't think Barack needs you, I am going to need you. I am going to need you to have your back." Cheering.

"If we fight for the world as it should be...not only will we elect Barack Obama the president of the United States but we will change the history of this nation forever."

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California Delegation Breakfast

I'm here at the Sheraton in Denver at the California delegation breakfast. Hillary Clinton was supposed to be here but canceled, apparently in favor of the New York delegation. Hopefully she'll reschedule since, ya know, I have a credential to the California delegation events.

Nancy Pelosi is the featured speaker here this morning and she just had a press availability where she, predictably, fielded many several questions about unity here in Denver. In response to the question "How realistic is the talk about not having a roll call vote?", Pelosi responded strongly: "I support a roll call vote. I'd be opposed to not having one." And in response to the question "What do you think the chances are that two nights of the Clintons at the convention will overshadow Barack Obama?", she responded quickly "None. Absolutely none." At about the third question in a row on the subject, she betrayed some exasperation: "This is so yesterday. Where did I walk into today, a time capsule?" She insisted the Democratic Party will be united. When asked about her role mending fences among women who might still be upset that Hillary lost, she said "there's a 20% gender gap already, even before the convention has begun and even before the reconciliation we need has taken place." And on the subject of the significance of the polls showing a tied race, she said "If the polls are tied among likely voters then Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States. Both he and Hillary Clinton have brought new voters into this election. Those are not likely voters."

Speaker Pelosi will be given the gavel as chair of the convention at 4pm and she will speak at 6pm.

She is speaking to the delegation right now.

Update [2008-8-25 12:47:16 by Todd Beeton]:Nancy Pelosi is riling up the troops. "Are you ready to be united!? Are you ready to work to elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden?"

"Reporters ask me all day about the process of this election, this should have been done, that should have been done, are Democrats united. This is about taking America in a new direction."

Clearly "New Direction" will be 2008's Democratic slogan as it was in 2006. Hey, I guess if it ain't broke...

Update [2008-8-25 12:47:16 by Todd Beeton]:Pelosi referenced the people who voted for Hillary but now are threatening to vote for John McCain. The place broke into Boos.

"If you're a senior and you care baout Medicare, Barack Obama is right, John McCain is wrong...

If you care about American children. John McCain sided with the president against expanding health insurance for millions of children.

If you care about issues that relate to economic fairness...

And on the greatest most difficult national security issue of our time, the decision to go into Iraq, Barack Obama was right, John McCain was wrong!"

Update [2008-8-25 12:47:16 by Todd Beeton]:"Taking back the House was step one in achieving our new direction. We need to grow our numbers in the House and Senate and elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden."

There's more...

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