Tag Archives: Republican

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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Sex & Lies. Can a Scorned Husband Bring Down a US Senator?

In the television series “The Good Wife”, a woman has to deal with her politically powerful husband going to jail for sexual impropriety. But what happens when in real life the shoe is on the other foot?

Some of you may remember the tawdry affair involving Nevada Republican Senator John Ensign and his dalliance with a staffer. Well, the staffer’s husband in on the warpath, apparently in an effort to shame him into resigning.

Darlene Ensign and Senator John Ensign
Darlene Ensign and Senator John Ensign

Doug Hampton has been interviewed by, among others, the New York Times and ABC’s “Nightline”, and he shows no sign on slowing down. I’m not sure you can blame him. His wife Cindy carried on the affair with Ensign despite the fact that they were family friends. Both worked for him, even as he was a member of “The Promise Keepers”, that group of ultra-religious conservative men who purport tolive more pious lives than the rest of us.

Hampton alleges that Ensign may have engaged in illegal conduct in paying his wife $25,000 in severance after the affair ended. If that money wasn’t properly reported to the Federal Election Commission, Ensign could face a felony charge. Beyond that, it must be downright embarrassing to have this guy dogging your every move.

It also creates a bit of a problem for the Republican Party. Five months after the Ensign affair was exposed, the GOP thought the whole thing was pretty much done with. They’ve since trained their sights on deposing Ensign’s Democratic counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. It looks like they think if they don’t say anything about Ensign, the whole thing will just blow over.

Some will argue Doug Hampton’s crusade is nothing ore than that of a cuckolded husband getting even. After all, he and Cindy (or is it Cynthia?) remain married, as do Ensign and his wife. However, John Ensign was the guy who led the charge after fellow Republican Larry Craig was caught up in that bathroom sex sting. Craig stuck around as well.

Funny, you don’t hear the same chest thumping about John Ensign that you hear about Charles Rangel. Like Rangel, Ensign is being investigated by his body’s ethics committee. Almost no one is demanding he step down from the Finance or Homeland Security committees. In fact, the only person making a fuss is Doug Hampton. The question now is whether the Republicans’ wall of silence will make his quest a moot point.

What do you think? Will Doug Hampton, husband scorned, have any impact on the career of Sen. john Ensign? You tell me.

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