Tag Archives: Politics

Progressives…Time to Stop Playing

The signs are everywhere, from North Carolina to Indiana to the hallowed halls of Congress.

North Carolina votes NO to gay marriage

 

Those who want to take America back to the 19th century are girding their loins for the battle ahead. Their endgame is obvious, and has been for some time.

The question that remains is whether those who call themselves progressives are ready to put aside their differences and prepare to “throw hands” (metaphorically, you understand).

The stakes are as follows. If we want to have any hope that the more than 12 million Americans currently out of work will ever have decent jobs again in their lifetime, we’re going to have to play politics to win.

That won’t be easy for progressives.

We pride ourselves at being somehow better, more high minded than our opponents. We won’t engage in certain tactics that they take for granted to win elections. Maybe we don’t have to. But we do have to have a clear idea of what we want to accomplish this and every election cycle. And yes, we may have to be ruthless in order to get it done. For the sake of our kids, if ruthless is what it takes, so be it.

Our political aim should be threefold.

You may not think he’s done everything he should have, but electing Barack Obama to a second term is essential. So too is widening the margin of the Democratic majority in the Senate. The third priority is to turn just 25 Republican seats in the House to Democrats.

Why are these three goals important? The GOP minority in the Senate just killed (for now) a bill to freeze the interest rate on college student loans. In  Indiana, a decent, long serving Republican US Senator just got his head handed to him by a Tea Partry Neanderthal. In North Carolina, a referendum just passed defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

These are three recent reasons progressives must be ready to stand and fight this election cycle. Another will be evident to anyone who has passed over or under a bridge, an overpass, train trestle, whatever. Folks, our infrastructure is falling apart.

The same people who think corporations are people tell us we’re too broke to fix our roads. How many able bodied Americans could be trained and put to work creating the steel that upgrades these structures so central to our lives? Who will mix and lay the concrete that replaces the foundations that have rotted away from years of neglect?

Oh yeah, and before I forget. Right now the nation’s unemployment rate stands at 8.1%.

If it ever got back down to where it was when Bill Clinton was president (3.9%), we’d all breathe a sigh of relief. I want to go one better. I want every able bodied American who wants to work to have a job. Then those don’t will have to come up with a really good reason why they can’t work like the rest of us.

And while I’m at it, I want universal health care, quality education for all Americans, and the end of the mess that has become our immigration system.

The President dropped his “to do” list on Congress the other day.

You’ve just read mine, and what progressives need to do to reach these lofty goals.

What’s your “to do” list? Can progressives get it done?

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Obama Goes to the Mattresses

President Obama’s State of the Union Tuesday night threw down a gauntlet Republicans won’t be able to cast aside simply by saying “he’s dividing us”. His basic thrust was that it’s time for American to actually be America, a challenge this country must embrace if we are to think of ourselves as a world leader. What was interesting, however, was the tack of GOP response to the speech.

Republicans, you see, are in a bind. The establishment of the party is very nervous about the direction the right flank is taking (they’re more scared of Newt Gingrich than Democrats are).

They also know that Mitt Romney, with his $10,000 bets and 15% effective tax rate has absolutely no empathy with the broad swath of the electorate they hope to seduce.
So they let the four presidential candidates and the House leadership say what they wanted, and put their faith in Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels to respond. It was Daniels that tried to use the issue of divisiveness to paint the president as ineffective.

Yet a confluence of events rendered the Republicans impotent. When President Obama talked about a 30% tax rate for millionaires, he didn’t have to mention Romney, who does no real work other than run for president but is worth a quarter of a billion dollars. His attempt to portray himself as a captain of American industry through his stewardship of Bain Capital a decade ago hardly rings true.

At the same time, Republican bleating over the president’s defense priorities were made moot when two teams of Navy Seals freed an American and a Dane kidnapped and held hostage in Somalia.

For many, the Barack Obama of the past couple of months bears a much closer resemblance to the guy they voted for in ’08 than the Obama of ’09 and ’10. He seems ready to wield his power more frequently, and to circumvent Congress if they want to play the obstructionist games of the recent past.

The terms executive order and recess appointment will likely be heard more often moving forward toward the November elections. Ironically, the last hope the Republicans have is that the economy craters again, which is in fact a possibility.
That’s why President Obama crerated a new mortgage unit to hopefully guard against a new wave of foreclosures.

Make no mistake. This president is done playing. Now the real battle for the soul of America begins.

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GOP Clown Show Hits Next Venue: New Hampshire

The results of the Iowa Republican Caucuses are now known.

So the candidates, from top to bottom, can now stop acting like they really care one way or the other about the people of that good state.

I asked a Des Moines talk show host about the fact that once the caucuses are done, presidential hopefuls seem to rarely return to the places where they pressed the flesh with such passion for weeks earlier. He said Iowans used to that by now.

How sad.

Now the roadshow moves to the Granite State of New Hampshire! Who will actually be moving on?

New Hampshire

 

Rick Perry’s gone home to Texas, to “reassess” his campaign. We all know what that means. Just ask Herm Cain.

Michele Bachmann, after saying she’s staying in the race, canceled some campaign appearances in South Carolina.

That leaves Gingrich, Paul, Santorum, Romney, and the only sane person in the race, Huntsman.

Jon Huntsman

Perry and Bachmann may yet continue, but not for long.

And what’s at the end of the rainbow for these folks? More media coverage, for sure. The 24 hour news cycle now demands that each primary until the nomination is decided is the political equivalent of the Super Bowl. That makes it easier for the punditocracy to ply their trade, and cash those checks. By the way, did any of them forsee the “Santorum Surge”? Just asking.

Put bluntly, do any of these people really have what it takes to be President? Can Gingrich get past his past? Will Paul bury his racist and homophobic newsletters? Is Santorum, with his blather about airstrikes on Iran, for real? Is Romney now on a clear path to victory, or will the far right wing of his own party do him in?

For political junkies, this is manna from heaven.

For everyone else, maybe not so much.

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