I can't agree with you more. I stopped watching CNN years ago when I got tired of their constant false equivalency between the two major parties on every issue. Even when it was clear that one side was demonstrably wrong, you would never know it by watching CNN. Take, for example, the issue of Republican filbustering and intransigence in passing legislation in this past Congress. CNN talks about how Obama has not been able to effect much change in the unemployment situation, without reminding viewers that it is the Republicans who have consistently and repeatedly stopped all attempts to pass legislation to help the people of this nation. It is almost as if it is Obama's fault that nothing has gotten done, rather than pointing the blame at the very scoundrels who have refused to do anything to help this country -- all for the stated purpose of making sure Obama is a failed president. Despicable, but not that you would know it by watching CNN.
I now watch MSNBC and Current TV for news as well as getting my news from the Internet. CNN is a channel I almost never watch anymore. They have several bloated talking heads -- e.g., Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper -- who think the world revolves around them and they prefer to hear themselves talk more than they care to let their guests talk when asked run-on questions. Can't stand them! Complete do-over is what is needed, but you know what, I don't think they will do it. They are convinced that they are so important in the world that they can do no wrong. Guess they'll keep getting those low ratings as people like me, who used to watch them religioiusly, changed the channel and never went back.
So people with legal gun ownership permits/carry permits are the source of all the gun violence in the city? Surprise me with the statistics that show that is happening. My guess is the gun violence stems from people who illegally possess illegal, stolen guns, not the body of law-abiding citizens who have gotten their permits by submitting to FBI background checks, checks on their mental health, and who have registered with the proper authorities that they have been required to do.
My guess is those fatalities were the result of criminals (people who obtained their guns without following the legal process and who are not registered with the appropriate authorities) using stolen guns obtained illegally to kill others (gun owners who submit to legal processes to obtain and register their guns do not generally kill other people). You should note for the record the difference between those citizens who follow the law and obtain and use their guns in a Constitutional way and those who are committing the horrible crimes you so sensationally highlight who do so with illegal, stolen guns, and who are not following the gun laws of the state and the city.
And by the way, I am a flaming liberal, progressive Democrat who believes in the Constitution. The Supreme Court has ruled under Heller that owning and carrying firearms is Constitutionally protected, so we all need to uphold the full faith and credit of the Constitution and not be knee-jerk pollyannas decrying the falling of the sky by looking in the wrong direction. Yes, the crime of murder with a firearm is heinous. But you need to ascribe the proper ownership of that criminal act to the person performing it, rather than infer that those who follow the law and own and use their firearms legally in accordance with the law and the Constitution are somehow the blame.
Any Democrat that supports this proposed budget would help begin the process of destroying the Democratic Party. President Obama and Senate Democrats need to make it clear that Ryan's proposed budget is DOA in the Senate and will be vetoed by the President should it somehow end up on his desk. Under no circumstances should Democrats agree to anything that would be this drastic in harming Medicare and Medicaid (not to mention Social Security). Such draconian cuts and blatant attempts at privatizing these seminal programs should be nonstarters, and rejected summarily as unacceptable.
Any Democrat who votes for or supports this plan should be sent packing. It is about time the Washington Democrats learned the lessons that the people in Wisconsin, Ohio, and other Midwestern states have been telling the nation about protecting basic, fundamental rights. It is inconceivable to me that the President would agree to these attacks on Medicare and Medicaid, no matter how "bipartisanshipy" he would like to be seen as being just for his re-election.
I will vote against any Democrat who support this plan, including the President. I always have the option of a write-in vote, and right now, I'm thinking I'll enjoy writing in Howard Dean's name if our Democratic leadership sells us down the river one more time.
I think I'll take the chance that Obama brings some "harm" to the Democratic party in lieu of the certain harm that would come to the entire nation if one of the teabagger Republicans were to win the presidency in 2012. I'll take his insults as long as we don't elect the party that would like to take us back to the last century. In other words, I'll take continuing progress over radical reactionarianism any day.
Obama just seems so out of touch with the electorate these days. For someone who was so good at campaigning in 2008 and who had the pulse of the voters so well, he now seems clueless. He attacks his base while ignoring the repeated assaults by the Republicans against him and his administration. He suggests that had he campaigned hard for the public option, he would have gotten no legislation passed; clearly, he didn't understand the legislative process, failed to connect to the importance of supporting his base and his campaign promises, and repeatedly believed he would eventually get brownie points for trying over and over again to coddle up to Republicans with that bipartisan-thingie. In all of these cases, he misread the public, his opposition, and his responsibilities to his base and party. As things now stand, I would vote for any -- ANY -- Democrat who would run against him in 2012. I fear there won't be one, so we'll be stuck with him for the election, and if by some weird stroke of luck he gets re-elected, we'll be stuck with him another four years after that. So sad. Such promise! Promise now wasted with his denials of reality and his continuing drive to find a bipartisan means of governance, even in the face of near total opposition and obstruction by the Republican party. Why can't he see that? Everyone else groks it, yet he remains aloof and oblivious that his accomplishments are minimal and not what he promised us. Change we can believe in is not incremental, marginal change that more resembles the status quo than real change. But that is what we got, and now he wants us to shut up and get with the program while he continues to mollycoddle the Republicans for change no one recognizes. Just simply sad!
First of all, the Tea Party gatherings you take note of always had more than just a "few ugly signs and/or nut jobs." There is a reason, after all, that Beck told people to leave their signs at home for the weekend rally in Washington. He didn't want all those ugly, angry signs filling television screens, reminding voters just how extreme this far right group of the Republican party is -- though, of course, he could do nothing to paint over the fact that it was like Ivory soap: 99.99% pure white.
Second, if one examines the rhetoric of many of the spokespersons for the Tea Party and far Right, terms like bigot, racist, and xenophobe are not far off the mark. There is also a reason why Marco Rubio avoids using such language, while politicians in Arizona, Texas, and other states do not: he knows that if he goes along with targeting the Hispanic people so very much in the sights of the Arizona polls, he will turn off the expanding Hispanic population of his state of Florida, where the Cuban vote has long supported the Republican party, but the growing demographic of nonCuban Hispanics soon may eclipse the Cuban Hispanic part of the Florida electorate. Unlike in Arizona, Texas, and other Western states where the Mexican/Hispanic has been made into the bad "other," the voters of FL do not embrace this type of racist, bigoted politics. Rubio is an astute politician and very much aware of this, and that is why he refused to endorse the AZ law when so many other Republican politicians all around the country were onl too happy to jump on board that train.
Finally, the reason that Democrats are not doing so well (at least at this point in the election cycle) has nothing to do with them being viewed as bigoted or racist, but rather is directly related to the dire economic circumstances the nation finds itself in at present. Poll after poll shows that voters are even less impressed with the Republicans than they are with the Democrats, but as with long-standing historical norms, the party in power almost always loses seats in Congress during the mid-term elections, and that situation is always exacerbated by a weak ecnonomy.
If voters really were planning to punish Democrats for their "victimology" politics, this election would be much, much worse for Dems than it obviously is. But voters are confronted with voting out the party in power (standard history) when they are upset with the economy on the one hand, and voting in power the even more despised Republicans whom the voters know put this country in the ditch in the first place. That is why the so-called conventional wisdom which says Dems are in serious trouble is not so easily analysed, because so far during the primary elections, far more Republican incumbents (7 to date) have been turned out of office by voters than have Democrats.
I do believe that the Dems are going to have a bad election this November, but not because voters view THEM as bigots or racists (labels much more readily applied to Republican extremist candidates); rather, I think Dems will lose moreso because the Dem base is highly unhappy with Obama for not carrying out his campaign promises and for being too conservative in his governance of this nation. If the Dems were as excited about voting as the Republican reactionaries are, this would be a very, very different election. What remains to be seen is whether the divide in enthusiasm continues right up to the November election, or whether people really do begin to focus on the extremism of the Republicans and their lack of a new agenda to move the country forward (going back to the same policies that drove up the deficit by trillions, contracted economic growth over multiple fiscal quarters, and forced hundreds of thousands out of their homes to foreclosures would be repeated if Republicans regained power).
Nice try to attempt to put all the blame on Dems for the bigoted, racist, xenophobic language more typical of some of the far right candidates for office on the Republican/Tea Party tickets. Unfortunately, the truth is just much, much different.
Listening to his Iraq War Withdrawal speech tonight just underscored for me how Obama still doesn't get it. The speech was fraught with calls for putting the discord and disharmony behind us and negotiating a new path forward devoid of disharmony. Yeah, like the Republicans are going to be willing to do that!
He spoke with such vagueness that most people will likely not realize that he was putting blame for our current fiscal situation on the wasted money spent on the war. Yet, he didn't come right out and make it clear that it was the Republicans who put us in this predicament. A golden opportunity to change the course of the debate and inform the millions of Americans who would be watching about just WHY we are in such a dilemma and why it is taking so long to get us out of it, but instead, he tries once again to elevate that bipartisanship mem... if only we could all just get along.
Obama just seems incapable, or at the worst, unwilling to realize he needs to rally his base and he needs to do it immediately. Yet, every opportunity he has to do that, he goes back to the same worn-out idea of bipartisanship and working together with lofty ideals, all the while ignoring the fact that his opposition is kicking his and our asses, and that when they take control in November, any idea of bipartisanship will finally be put to death. Why he cannot understand that and start tyring to rally those who would still support him, is beyong me. But he doesn't and he seems like he won't either. Too bad. We could still staunch the damage if only he would start respecting his base and working with them; instead, he continues his delusion that he'll find a few good Republicans to help him with his agenda, and they keep stabbing him in the back. If it weren't so pathetic, it would be truly "Grecian" as GWB would say. Just don't get it, speaking for myself.
As a native Texan, born in Houston, I know that there is a polar difference between Houston (liberal) and Dallas/Ft.Worth (conservative). Maybe we need to borrow half of he voting machines from Dallas and transport them to Houston, thus leveling the playing field for both cities. Better yet, why not let all Texans vote by mail like in Washington and Oregon? This would do away with all that "voter fraud" the "True the Vote" people are worried about, and would not require storing hundreds or thousands of voting machines in vulnerable warehouses so arson can affect an election. Bet the True the Vote people wouldn't like this idea, though. It would guarantee that all those people of color would have an equal chance to vote without giving them (TtV) the opportunity to suppress the voter turnout in precincts that wouldn't go their preferred way.
While much of what you say I can find some agreement with, I veer slightly away with your concerns about the individual mandate for health care. I also do not like it, but understood the reasoning behind it -- as long as we had some sort of public option or Medicare early buy-in to provide an effective hedge and competition against it. But since Obama betrayed us on that part of the equation, saying repeatedly that he was for a public option, but then making sure one never saw the light of day in actual legislation, I find the individual mandate extremely odious and unfair. It needs to be repealed or Congress needs to revist the law and add a robust public option or Medicare buy-in. Anything less is unfair and insupportable. It is the main reason I have now stopped supporting the Democratic Party organizations with donations of money and time.
I am a part of the so-called "professional Left," which I don't really agree should be defined as "professional" since so many of us who are not earning a living writing as a pundit agree with much of what those pundits on the Left are saying. I am also very disappointed at the sheer number of campaign promises Obama made that he is now blithely ignoring or slow walking. DADT, DOMA, GITMO are just a few. I also agree that while he may be keeping his promise to withdraw thousands of troops from Iraq, diverting them to Afghanistan in light of the current situation there is insanity and suggests he is more concerned about politics than what is best for the nation. I am nearing retirement, so I very much remember the debates and schism that developed over the Vietnam war in the 60s and 70s. I see parallels developing here with Afghanistan, where the people have already figured out that it is a losing proposition and not worth the investment of lives and capital; yet, the political establishment inside the Beltway still cannot make that leap nor are they willing to listen to the people. They are still too tied to the corporate military-industrial lobbyists that advocate continuing to poor billions of dollars of money into the quagmire, while ignoring the lives of the innocent members of the military that are being wasted there for no perceivable gain.
Am I disillusioned? You bet. Do I think Congress will be taken over by the Republican nutwing party in November? No doubt. Will that lead to more obstructionism and wasted "investigations" of this administration designed to stymie any constructive governmental assistance with helping the people and restoring our fractured economy? Yes, it will. But in my opinion, Obama has brought all of this on to himself. He still refuses to acknowledge that his bipartisan triangulation efforts have been a complete failure, have led to an all-but-certain victory of the very party he wanted to work with, the party of NO that will continue to do all it can to make sure his administration is a complete failure and his accomplishments are few or ineffective. At the same time, he continues to disrespect the very elements of the party that worked so hard to help him get elected, that still want him to succeed, and that would work their hearts out if they felt it was appreciated and worth it. Unfortunately, as one of those people, I no longer feel it is worth it. We will not be able to stop the take over of the government by the crazies, and Obama will spend the last two years of his administration fighting off investigation after investigation.
What should have been a seminal change election that ushered in 'real change' has been squandered by attacking and ignoring the base while courting the oppostitional party of NO to no avail. It is a sad situation we find ourselves in, but one that can be directly attributed to a president who failed the test of leadership when it was sorely needed. No doubt, he is happy with the corporatist versions of legislation he has succeeded in getting passed. But there are a lot of us out here who don't really see things that way, and then to have him diss us for not kowtowing to his policies the way the mindless Republicans fall lockstep in line with their party's leaders is the ultimate insult. I'm done with him and this way of governing. I won't send them any more money, and I won't be boarding a bus to go to Scranton or Manchester anytime soon to work for his re-election (the way I did in past campaigns). Stick a fork in me, cause I'm done.
The thrust of Lemos' analysis is that Obama energized millions to rally around a progressive change in the way the nation was being governed, yet once he took office, failed to keep that energy and involvement going. So many of us truly expected him to be an exceptional president, if only he would have carried out the philosophies of his campaign as he promised he would. Unfortunately, he did not.
The dire times and economic situation left him by Pres. Bush called for bold, extreme measures, but more importantly, the demanded bold, innovative leadership. I would venture that the vast majority of us who voted for him thoroughly expected that is they kind of leadership we would get once he assumed office. We were to be sorely disappointed. Within months of taking over, he began making his back room deals with corporations, Wall Street, Big PhRMA, the health insurance giants, and began rather early on to send quite clear signals about whose side he was going to come down on. His promises for the most transparent administration ever were dashed when he took up the mantle of entrenched Washington, Beltway politics -- the very politics he had railed against while running for office.
When the Health Care debate began to be enjoined, he rather quickly made it clear which side he was going to promote, and it wasn't the progressive, change-we-can-believe-in call to arms he ran on in the campaign. The reason he began to lose the middle and his base is because more and more he was being seen as a president lacking in strong leadership qualities, one more inclined to kowtow to the opposition despite their hartred of him and avowed determination to bring him and his administration down. Calls were made repeatedly that he should stand up to these attacks and show strong FDR type leadership, using his bully pulpit, using his power of the White House to reign in wayward Democrats, and take his message to the people to enlist them in advancing the causes they voted for him to accomplish in the first place. Instead, he chose repeatedly to hide behind his "aloofness," his determination to somehow make bipartisanship work, even in the face of near total Republican intransigence.
As the Summer of 2009 arrived and the corporate enemies of his agenda began to rally their forces with the nascent "Tea Party patriots," he still failed to see the need to step forward and provide an alternate and viable reality. He still refused to lead. And that is the underlying theme of Charles Lemos' article: Obama came to office with the public squarely behind him (some 70% of Americans supported his policies and his administration during the early months of his presidency). But he squandared all of that by advancing watered down, largely ignored or politically maligned compromises that as Lemos said, turned off his base and disillusioned the centrists who had taken a chance on him in 2008. When he needed to show strong leadership, he hid inside the bubble and allowed himself to be repeatedly slapped down by the Republicans and those whose only agenda was his destruction. He bunkered down and kept trying to make public showings of how HE was going to work hard to advance bipartisanship, even if such bipartisanship was patently unworkable and unavailable to him. It does take two to dance, and the Republican party was not willing to dance; they merely wanted to trip him everytime he tried to invite them to the dance floor, but he stupidly kept trying again and again, long after it was clear no one was going to dance with him from the other side of the aisle.
So the real indictment of his administration is not that he didn't have good ideas, or not that he didn't make some major accomplishments. The real indictment of his administration is that he failed in providing real leadership when it was the most important thing the country needed. He accepted compromises that pleased almost no one -- not his activist, progressive base; not the rapidly deserting moderates and centrists who had taken a chance on him; and certainly not the obstreperous, lying Right that made it their goal to make him a failed president no matter how much they had to lie or harm the country in advancing their own political agenda. Obama just seemed oblivious to all that. And when the tide began to turn, and his policies and public approval and support began to slide precipitously, instead of regrouping and rethinking his methods, he instead began to blame the very constituents who wanted to see him succeed and see the country succeed.
In the end, it is his own undoing that has brought him, and by extension, the rest of the nation, to this unfortunate point where now all attempts at real change, progressive change are stymied, and in a few short weeks, will be stopped completely in their tracks when the Republicans take back control of the House and possibly the Senate. None of this need ever have happened if Obama had been the leader the times and the country demanded. Why he chose to abnegate all the great promises he made that energized the nation and led to his overwhelming victory in November 2008 will be the stuff of many analytical books for generations to come. But in the meantime, our country suffers mightily, our party is in the doldrums, and a renascent Rightwing is poised to retake control (inconceivable in the early months of 2009!), and all the progress we might have made in this country will be stopped in its tracks.
For this we have only President Obama to blame. He could have led us like FDR, like Lincoln, even like Moses to a new land full of promise and innovation, but he chose instead to just continue the 'more of the same' politics he had once said he was against. Instead of listening to the people who put him in office, again as he had said he would do, he chose instead to listen to the entrenched politicians and lobbyists and corporate masters in Washington DC, thereby guaranteeing that the vast base of supporters of his campaign would become disillusioned and turned off from the politics of usual they had hoped to see brought to an end. We needed a strong, capable, vibrant leader, but in the end, we got a president with good ideas who sidelined those ideas time and time again for perceived political expediency -- the old ways of Washington that sickens the body politic of his nation, and that fueled the rise of an alternative Tea Party voice that looks more and more likely to win its arguments, with some exceptions of course, than will the President and his supporters who had once had such high hopes. In the end, it truly was and is about real leadership, and in this area, Obama has been proven mightily to be lacking.
Social Security! If Obama agrees to go along with the Catfood Commission and cut benefits, raise the retirement elgilibity age, or make other concessions that will weaken and harm Social Security, he will lose a lot of votes, mine in particular. If he does this and is not primaried - and yes, the African-Americans will be pissed - then I will vote for whatever wingnut Republican or more viable 3rd party candidate is out there, just to make sure Obama loses.
This is the gold-plated legacy of the New Deal and is one of the few governmental programs passed by Dems that is well loved by almost all Americans, except for the rightwing politicians. For Obama to be the first Democratic president to actually weaken or harm Social Security would guarantee he will be a one term president. You add this to the other major items Jerome is positing, and I think you can count on a primary challenge, and if not, then a loss at the polls in Nov 2012.
This is nothing but more of the same ol' making "facts" up to suit your own personal reality. No one is pulling Santorum to do anything. The only stroking going on here is the stroking he is doing to himself to assuage his own ego. Puhleeese!
While I do agree that all Dem Presidents since Carter have been Wall Street Democrats, and therefore, not a lot different (except on social issues) than their Republican counterparts, I just cannot see the leap to supporting Marco Rubio as somehow logical. Maybe I need to drink a different flavor of koolaid to understand that one.
Somehow, the logic of an ad that says Robin Carnahan "doesn't want New Yorkers to tell us what to do in Missouri either" is going to piss off the people of Missouri? In what world did Blunt think that was going to be effective? No wonder he had second thoughts and decided to remove it. Most Missourians probably would agree with Robin, not him.