Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Republicans Just Got Interesting

Well, well, well....seems that South Carolina threw a very nice ol' monkey wrench into the inevitability of Multiple Choice Mitten's march to be the nominee.  Could the GOP convention end up being brokered if no one gets enough delegates to win it outright?  It's unlikely but a possibility which would mean that I'd have to watch their convention.  I sure hope I don't have to.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Republican Primary Season, So Far

I've promised myself not to pay attention to what the Republicans are doing since I won't be voting for them no matter what but I figure since everyone else is doing it, I thought I'd throw in my two cents on the GOP season.  How I'll do it is take the predictions and see how they're doing so far.

Prediction:  Romney will be the nominee.

What's happened:  Once the votes have started to come in, it's looking like Romney will be the Republican nominee.

Prediction:  The Republicans will lie a lot during their debates.

What's happened:  The Republicans have had 16 debates with more to come and they've lied a lot during them.  Knowing this beforehand, I have avoided watching any of them.

Prediction:  It'll be difficult for the far right to find an anti-Romney candidate.

What's happened:  After falling in and out of love of various alternatives to Romney, it's been difficult for the Teabaggers, etc. to find a viable alternative to Romney.

And on and on it goes.  Wasn't that exciting?

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Case For Barack Obama

Maybe it's just because it's online and only looks bigger than it actually is or it's become suddenly fashionable to bash President Obama from the left.  I think it's the internet that's making this look bigger than what it really is since recent polls show that 70% of Democrats still support the President's re-election.

Let's take a look and take apart the left's problems with Obama:

Obama isn't a progressive.

Well, maybe not what the self-appointed guardians of progressivism says what it should be but in the real world he most certainly is a progressive.  What he's not is a doctrinaire progressive -- he made it more than clear during the campaign and since he's been elected that he was much more interested in getting things done than bravely losing for the progressive cause.  We have health care reform because of that attitude, we have regulation of the financial sector for the first time ever thanks to that attitude plus a plethora of even more issues.  Rachel Maddow has pointed out that Obama has passed into law 85% of what he ran on.

Obama betrayed us on the public option.

Nonsense.  First of all, the public option wasn't what a lot of people who are crying over it thought it was.  It was never set up where you could drop the insurance you've already got at work or otherwise and switch over to the new government insurance company.  The public option was only going to be open to those who weren't already covered as it's name says, an option.  The President also said it wasn't the main component to health insurance reform.  Besides, no one is stopping anyone from introducing the public option even now even though it'll require a change of parties in the House for it to have a chance.

Obama trades everything away.

I'm putting this one down to all of the people who never got involved in politics until 2008.  One of the benefits of the President coming from the Senate is that he's familiar with how things work in DC.  The name of the game there is compromise (even though with the Tea Party Republicans that's being put to the test).  Everything is "watered down" going through the legislative process -- it's how things get passed. 

Obama isn't a fighter.

Sorry, but I don't buy this one even a little bit:  No one gets 85% of his agenda passed being a milquetoast.  What he isn't is a public fighter.  That may make us applaud and cheer but it really doesn't do much when it comes to passing laws.  Fighters make headlines but don't have a great record of laws passed under their belts.  I'll take getting it done over whether I feel all warm and such about a fighting politician.

Excuse me for continuing to support the man I voted for back in 2008.  He's done the best he could do with what he's had to work with and most of that has been damn successful.  Keep this in mind too:  dump Obama and we don't get President Bernie Sanders.  We get President Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Worm Has Turned

I've been fighting cancer so I haven't written much so here goes.

Even with that going on, there is something going on that has made me happy and sad at once.  Namely how things have turned since the elections of 2010.

I was told by my friends on the right how devastated I was going to be on election night because the "Marxists" would soon be out of power.  I'd be just a quivering, weeping little pile they told me.  Well, I'll be the first to admit that last November could have been better and we did have our asses handed to us when it came to the House.  Always the optimist, I took what comfort I could over the fact that even with the losses in the Senate we managed to hang onto that and the President was still a Democrat so the nuttier ideas from the House GOPers would go nowhere. Some things were going to slip through though, given how the Democrats bend over backwards to avoid annoying the other side too much.

I was also bemoaning that so many of our side decided to stay home last November as well but I wasn't surprised that it happened either.  The less ideological Democrats were being bombarded with a pretty steady diet of how either evil Obama was or how he had "betrayed" the progressive cause since he was actually in office.  The atmosphere was pretty darn negative when it came to our President and by extension the message being sent out was why bother voting, you're just going to get screwed no matter who gets in.

The Republicans, as is their wont, read the elections wrong.  Instead of seeing it as the beneficiaries of low voter turnout and a successful campaign from both the far right and left to demonize President Obama, they saw it as a resounding endorsement of their ideas.  ALL of their ideas, even the ones they neglected to mention on the campaign trial.  So they went for it, policy-wise first in Wisconsin by going after the hated unions then going after Medicare and Social Security.

Then something very interesting happened.

I don't know which one it was but somewhere along the line people hit the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.  Maybe it was the public unions being attacked or the push to privatize Medicare and Social Security but one of them did it without question.  Then something happened that my friends a bit further left than I had promised and I doubted would ever happen - things had finally gotten so bad that the people woke up.

Suddenly state capitols were overcome with protesters.  People were out on corners, waving signs at passing motorists.  They even shut down phone exchanges with their actual phone calls to actual legislators, state and federal.  People were actually doing more than signing online petitions, they were out of the house standing up to the right live and in person.

In normal times, that would be a signal to the party doing things that all these people didn't like to back off a bit.  But the Republicans, tone deaf as always, had convinced themselves that they still held the majority position and decided to double down on it.  How did they accomplish this?  First they threatened to shut down the government if they didn't get their way entire but cooler heads prevailed that time.  Those same heads lost it when their "genius" Representative Paul Ryan came out with his budget for 2012. 

This was a wishlist of every thing the Republicans have wanted to do ever since the South went from solid Democratic to pretty-solid Republican.  Make Medicare into a voucher-like system instead of the single payer system it is now, cut back Social Security, defund NPR, Planned Parenthood and even more like cutting food stamps and school lunches.  Now, it would have been bad enough for them if this budget abomination had just stayed in the realm of "proposed" but they had to go that one more step and go ahead and pass it in the House.


Big boo boo.  Now there's actual votes to have to defend to the folks back home.  No denying that or saying you really meant to do something else there.

The Republicans are now getting a taste of what they try so hard to avoid: reality.  The new Tea Bag members of the House are holding town halls while they're off and instead of friendly crowds shouting down pesky liberals they're finding they are the ones being shouted at and not in a good way.  Why, their "courageous" Rep. Ryan even got BOOED by a home district crowd.

Knowing the Republicans, they'll ignore even these clear signals and go even further with their policies.

Election night 2012 just might be a lot more fun than the one in 2010 was.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Help wanted

I'm starting chemo today and was thinking that since I won't be posting much it'd be nice to have some more writers for this blog.  Who knows, maybe we can grow this to something beyond being read when I get around to writing something and then send it around the internet.  If you'd like to join in, please send me an email at  I'll clean up the grammar and spelling but otherwise what you write will be all you and you could be read by dozens with the thanks of a grateful nation to keep you going.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Yeah, I said it.  I haven't been writing much lately - for those who don't know, I am fighting prostate cancer that has moved to my bones.  Radiation treatment is done - chemo up next.  Needless to say, I haven't felt up to doing much but I did want to make a quick post for the holidays.  Hopefully I'll start feeling better as treatment progresses and will make more posts but in the meantime my best wishes to all this holiday season, no matter who or what you celebrate.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"We Can't Be Just Like Them" - We Might Win

I'm about to give up on my brethren on the left.  There's a disturbing subtext going around among a seeming majority of us even slightly left-of-center - fight the right but don't fight the right too hard.  After all, we don't want to be "just like them." 

Why the hell not?  In case you haven't noticed, "them" are winning again.

The conservative movement's heavy investment in media is paying off more and more while we stick to individual causes - so much so that the con take on any given issue is now the default position of most of the media.  I've essentially stopped watching cable and network TV news because of this.  Most any news show think they're balanced because they have on 2-3 conservative voices and a reporter as if a news reporter was the embodiment of liberalism.  Few actual progressives who could effectively argue against the current wave of rightwing talking points ever get TV facetime. 

If that wasn't bad enough, the media acts like the most important view of any issue is coming from the Republican Party, whether or not they are actually in power.  In a sane and truly balanced news culture, the party in power gets the most attention.  In this one, John McCain is to be found most often on "serious" news programs like "Meet the Press" and Sarah Palin is declared our national obsession.  The LOSERS of the 'o8 election are clearly the ones who matter to the mainstream media, not any of the Democrats who had won.  This has happened because, while we are signing online petitions and complaining amongst ourselves, "them" are complaining directly to media and threatening their sponsors when they see news they don't like and consider it "bias."  "Them" wins again.

The best evidence of how thoroughly the "them" has won is how Americans label themselves.  A stunning majority consider themselves to be conservatives with liberals coming in under 30%.  Look at the polling on individual issues without any labeling attached however and something interesting jumps out - most of those "conservatives" turn out to be very liberal.  Most want the tax cuts to the rich to go away, they support gays openly serving in the military, among those who say they don't like healthcare reform most of them say it's because it didn't go far enough.   And on and on....but don't you dare call them liberals.

And who, besides us brave few who understand what the term actually means and wear it as a badge of honor, would want to be a liberal anyway?  Dislike what they stand for as much as you want but the right has the image of getting it done and we liberal types look like we sure don't like what the right is doing and we'd do something about it if we'd ever get up the energy but it's just too much of a bother.  Oh, we'll yell about things among ourselves and sign a few things online but getting off our asses and computers and raising a real ruckus? 

Well, we sure hope somebody does that.  Someday. 

Besides, we'd rather spend our time going after a much safer target - our own people.  The conservatives just love it when we say how awful our leaders are be they in the House, Senate or White House.  "See?," the righties say, "(fill in the blank) is so bad and incompetent that not even the liberals like them!  Vote for us instead."  Of course, our beef with Democrats in Congress and the White House is completely different than theirs, but they don't have to mention that part - the damage is done and we look "fractured" while they look united and determined.  Then they go on to win 63 seats in the House.

Back to the "we can't be just like them" argument from the left.  There used to be a story making the rounds before progressive talk radio stations came into being about why liberal talk shows wouldn't make it.  The tale went on to say while liberals would hear something outrageous on a radio show, they'd just sadly shake their heads and drive on while a conservative would dive off the highway looking for a phone to call in and express their anger.  A story clearly pre-cell phone too but the point stands - if we show some spine and anger we'll be "just like them." 

I've discussed a few solutions to this in earlier posts and I'm far from alone in suggesting what to do next so I won't rehash them here.  I'll just wrap up by pointing out that unless we're willing to do more than bitch among ourselves and such we're going to be stuck with rightwing crazies setting the national agenda for long past the next election.  We're going to have to do what Harry Truman said to do - take the fight to them and never apologize for it - to turn things around.  We don't have to do that with falsehoods like "them" live on but do it we must.

No time like the present to get that started too.