Monday, April 25, 2011

Obama's Enforcer: Pretend Like We Never Hated You

If you're like me, you've remained on various White House propaganda lists and campaign email subscriptions just out of curiosity -- to find out what they're trying to sell us today.

Despite the fact that we're still a year and a half away from the presidential election, Obama's campaign manager. Jim Messina, is wasting no time.  I think he may have an inkling that the president's (former) base is feeling the disenchantment, so he has a solution:  Forget the past.  Let's start all over, shall we?  Pretend we never called you whiners and sanctimonious purists for not getting the Public Option.  Make believe Obama is not an incumbent who sold you out. Imagine he is a brand-new, fresh unknown community organizer again.  Let's make it a resurgent campaign.  Surge like it's a war.  Do the metrics.  Grow some more grass roots!  (actually, being a sometime gardener, I was under the impression that you grow plants from roots, and that roots are either there or they're not.)  Here's what he sent out today. Judge for yourself.

http://my.barackobama.com/2012-First-Look-Video

Ari Berman of "The Nation" recently wrote an in-depth piece about the curious choice of Messina as Obama's campaign manager.  After watching the video, I can see why he would rub would-be volunteers the wrong way.  He talks at, rather than to, his audience.

"Messina begins the re-election campaign with a significant amount of baggage", Berman writes. "As a former chief of staff to (Max, D-Montana) Baucus and deputy to (Rahm) Emanuel, Messina has clashed with progressive activists and grassroots Obama supporters both inside and outside Washington over political strategy and on issues like healthcare reform and gay rights, alienating parts of the very constituencies that worked so hard for Obama in 2008 and that the campaign needs to reinspire and activate in 2012. Obama’s fixer has arguably created as many problems as he’s solved.  'He is not of the Obama movement,' says one top Democratic strategist in Washington. 'There is not a bone in his body that speaks to or comprehends the idea of a movement and that grassroots energy. To me, that’s bothersome.' ”

You can read the entire article here: http://www.thenation.com/article/159577/jim-messina-obamas-enforcer

So....ARE YOU IN, OR NOT?  Messina wants to know, he wants to know now, and he wants it to go viral. NOW! (Nothing like the old soft sell).

Here is my proposal.  If President Obama goes on national TV and swears on the Bible of Lincoln that he will unequivocally support the Progressive People's Budget, support universal health care, stop the wars, raise taxes on the rich -- then I will think about it while remaining highly skeptical  But first he has to show he means it.  Maybe by reversing that signing statement and taking back his order holding Gitmo prisoners indefinitely without charges? That would be a start.  Then he could announce a special surcharge on Wall Street.

Sorry, Jim Messina.  As much as I would like to believe Obama is a born-again fresh candidate, I gave up believing in the tooth fairy a long time ago.  All the words in the world  will not enable him to grow those ephemeral roots in a soil that is barren and depleted.

And no, Bambots -  criticizing Obama is not tantamount to supporting the Republicans. Obama is a Republican anyway, so what have we got to lose? 

40 comments:

Kate Madison said...

I agree, Karen! Jim Messina is a wreck. He is cut off at the neck and does not even pretend to have a heart. I have let him know that I will not work for Obama's re-election campaign, nor will I contribute money I do not have--as I did in 2008. However (here I go again!), I WILL vote for Obama, because I do not think we can find a progressive challenger who can win, and 3rd party candidates just hand the election to the Republican (with a little help from the Supremes)--Hello Donald Trump, T-Paw, Mitters and Michelle Bachmann!

My point after this long discourse: it is ALL ABOUT THE SUPREMES! I know, I know--I am redundant! You will have to put up with me though, because I really do believe this. I think of how different (and possibly sane) our Supremes might have been if Nader had not run and Gore and/or Kerry had defeated Bushwacker!

Think about it!

Tracked and Followed said...

God does exist, I read your response to the man who calls himself a writer, David Brooks-mouthpiece of the Establishment. I laughed so hard. Very refreshing.
Sorry, I am sitting this one on the sidelines. I know I'll get flack for that but it's like the Demos are the D-Train, the Repubs-the Express Train to Austerity Hell and they both run on the corporate gas. That's Webster Tarpley's analogy.
I get calls from these organizations but I recently quizzed the attack dog on who pray tell voted for the bank bailouts in my state, both Democrat Senators. Of course they couldn't handle it and hung-up in mid-sentence.
Really pathetic how the parties still try to game us. They should start some new tricks.

Valerie Long Tweedie said...

Right on! Karen! You speak for many of us with this post.

I think it is very significant that Obama has chosen Jim Messina (close association with Max Baucus and Rahm Emanuel - birds of a feather) to lead his re-election campaign. It's kind of like choosing Geithner as Sec of the Treasury and sticking with him. There is a real message to his constituency with these appointments.

I think a lot of us are eager to throw our lot in with a progressive Democratic challenger at the Primary. Maybe Obama will finally get the message that his base isn't as malleable and controllable as he thought. Hey, it is worth a shot. Pat Buchanan drove the Republican Party to the right when he challenged Bush the First and look where the Republicans are now. Maybe it is time for the Democrats to realise that they can't win this election without giving something to their progressive base.

I'm still waiting for Obama to actually DO something remotely progressive. I certainly don't trust what he says anymore.

"Cat" will do said...

The little tell, the thing I never liked about Obama was that smug little pip in his walk. Like he's a soul brother, when he's anything but. And Messina! What a condescending prick. That video is a perfect example of why US classrooms are boring. I didn't vote for the guy last time and i won't this time either. And despite having all my life been one of those people who insisted everyone vote or shut up, I may not put my mark next to any name running for President this time if I'm not given better choices. This time a vote for Ralph, the one guy who always tells the truth, is actually a throwaway vote cause he's too old to run (although, is he older than Raygun was?).

The more blogs I read the more I realize how much truly disheartened spirit there is out there, just flat out despondency, and the more I chastise myself for not just moving somewhere where the livin is easier. Screw Obama. He speak with forked tongue and always has. Wannabe white guy. Same mentality as the wannaberich folks who vote against their own interests every single time. I gotta hand it to the Democrat Progressive Caucus. The world must seem a very cold place to them these days but they keep hangin in, proposing fair legislation that gets not attention, and tryin to do their job.

I live in Maine where a wannabenazi is now governor. He won with a 'mandate' of about 40% of the vote (thee way) and you see what he's doing to the state already. I'm moving down south, where at least the lines are more clearly drawn.

Denis Neville said...

“Look forward, not backward.”

Jim Messina he has a solution: Forget the past. Let's start all over, shall we?

He’s just taking his cue from his boss.

President Obama prefers to ‘look forward, not backward.’

‘Look forward, not backward is “one of the greatest expressions of presidential lawlessness since Richard Nixon told David Frost that ‘it's not illegal if the President does it.’” – Glenn Greenwald

“Obama's understanding of ‘a nation of laws’: the most powerful political and financial elites who commit the most egregious crimes are to be shielded from the consequences of their lawbreaking - see his vote in favor of retroactive telecom immunity, his protection of Bush war criminals, and the way in which Wall Street executives were permitted to plunder with impunity - while the most powerless figures (such as a 23-year-old Army Private and a slew of other low-level whistleblowers) who expose the corruption and criminality of those elites are to be mercilessly punished. And, of course, our nation's lowest persona non grata group - accused Muslim Terrorists - are simply to be encaged for life without any charges. Merciless, due-process-free punishment is for the powerless; full-scale immunity is for the powerful. ‘Nation of laws’ indeed.” - Glenn Greewald, President Obama speaks on Manning and the rule of law

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/

Forget the past. Let's start all over, shall we?

No, I don’ think so.

Denis Neville said...

Kate Madison said... However (here I go again!), I WILL vote for Obama, because I do not think we can find a progressive challenger who can win, and 3rd party candidates just hand the election to the Republican…

And that is just where Obama, Messina, et. al. want us to be.

Is that value of his worth more important than the principles the Democratic Party has stood for since FDR? Just what does Obama stands for as a Democrat? It seems to me that he has rendered the words Democratic Party meaningless.

Some choice, “feckless mush or stone cold cruel rethugs.”

"Cat" will do said...

For a clear picture of how the neoliberal Democratic party continues to get Ms. Madison's (and maybe your) vote, read Chris Hedges' new article in Truthdig, The Corporate State Wins Again. And pass it on, please. Mr. Hedges is one of the clearest thinkers in the country and deserves to be heard.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_corporate_state_wins_again_20110425/

Anonymous said...

Commenter # 3 on David Brooks column in today's NYT, Jeannie from Johnstown, told the truth about David Brooks--that his career began with his servile flattery as a college student of the narcissist William F. Buckley. For telling the truth she had her comment removed. Screw you, NYT.

Karen Garcia said...

If you have had a NYT comment rejected or removed, you can repost it on the new "Off Times Square" section on RealityChex.com (see link in my blog roll at the right). I have had my share of comments rejected, as have most of us. But I have never had one published and then removed. Somebody high up must have noticed Jeannie's. Could it have been Davey?

Anonymous said...

The posters here are the only ones that think David Brooks is a Conservative! I also doubt that "Free Speach" extends to posting comments opposing big Central Government on RealityChecks.com, but I could be wrong about that.

Richard

John said...

Kate, Dear Kate,

Have you been doing lunch with "The Winning Progressive" of late?

Are you, as in the Peanuts cartoon, going to let yourself be tricked into that Kick-the-Extra-Point game with Lucy (aka Obama) again?

Are you going to trust in the Supremes as a last resort to keep the nation from going past the tipping point? If Obama does win in 2012, thanks to your vote for the lesser of two evils, do you really suppose that the current Nominator in Chief will won't pick yet another corporatist, or anti-progressive, or decidedly non-progressive to fill the next empty justice seat? You really think he has your economic, social AND LEGAL interests at heart?

Just look at the Justice Department, where Obama has ruled appointments and policy since Day One of his administration.

Think about it.

Jay, Ottawa

Anonymous said...

There are several things that Progressives need to come to grips with prior to voting in the 2012 election or not.

1) the Bush tax cut for the rich did expire. The current tax cut for the rich is the Obama tax cut for the rich.

2) the Bush wars have been taken, embraced, and enlarged by the Obama administration that makes them Obama's wars

3) whatever you call what we aren't doing on the ground in Libya is totally Obama's whatever that is.

4) the GITMO trills that were military and evil before they were civilian and therefore good are now military again , but now they are good.

5) gas prices that were at $4.00/ gallon under Bush and his fault Are now heeded in the direction of $5.00. However you can't expect the President to be able to change that can you? (could our eternal friends the house of El Saud be leaving gifts in the White House garden again?)

6) the Bush Patriot act expired and has been replaced with the Obama Patriot act.

That is the legacy of the current administration, feel free to add to the list.

Richard

Denis Neville said...

“What we heard in 2008 and what we will hear again in 2012: that the only thing that matters is that Obama win the Presidency because of …how disaster will befall us all if this vast power falls into Republican hands…

“When does [Obama] offer stirring, impassioned defenses of the Democrats' vision on anything, or attempt to transform (rather than dutifully follow) how Americans think about anything? It's not that he lacks the ability to do that. Americans responded to him as an inspirational figure and his skills of oratory are as effective as any politician in our lifetime. It's that he evinces no interest in it. He doesn't try because those aren't his goals. It's not that he or the office of the Presidency are powerless to engender other outcomes; it's that he doesn't use the power he has to achieve them because, quite obviously, achieving them is not his priority or even desire.

“Whether in economic policy, national security, civil liberties, or the permanent consortium of corporate power that runs Washington, Obama, above all else, is content to be (one could even say eager to be) guardian of the status quo. And the forces of the status quo want tax cuts for the rich, serious cuts in government spending that don't benefit them (social programs and progressive regulatory schemes), and entitlement "reform" -- so that's what Obama will do. He won't advocate, and will actually oppose, steps as extreme as the ones Paul Ryan is proposing: that's how he will retain his "centrist" political identity and keep the fear levels high among his voting base. He'll pay lip service to some Democratic economic dogma and defend some financially inconsequential culture war positions: that's how he will signal to the base that he's still on their side. But the direction will be the same as the GOP desires and, most importantly, how the most powerful economic factions demand: not because he can't figure out how to change that dynamic, but because that's what benefits him and thus what he wants…

“…Obama always has been able to deliver nice speeches, especially ones that trigger the desired response among progressives; the test for Obama is what he does, not what he says in a single speech.” – Glenn Greenwald

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/04/13/obama/index.html

I also don't trust what he says anymore.

Kate Madison said...

To all of you who disagree with me: I understand where you are coming from, but I don't think you get it about the Supremes. I asked you to "think about it." Have you? Obama's appointments, Sotomayer and Kagen have been quite good, though not as progressive as I would wish. So far their votes and arguments have been with the liberals. We cannot afford another Scalia, Thomas, Roberts or Alito--and that is what we will get with a Republican president. I am surprised you don't get that.

After all, it is the whacked out Supreme's majority that gave us "Citizens United." We could get even worse with another mega-conservative justice, whereas a liberal justice would give balance to the Court and perhaps Roe vs Wade would not go down in flames!

To compare me to Winning Progressive is insulting! You obviously have not read anything I have written. WP is an Obamabot, probably an OFA shill. I am not an Obama fan, for sure, nor am I a defender. I detest Geithner and Messina and am less than impressed with many of his appointments. Ken Salazar is a disaster. But I am a realist, and I do not think we can get a good democratic challenger to Obama for 2012. It is too late, and Russ Feingold has declined. If we could, I would be on the bandwagon, you can be sure.

To those of you who hate Obama and will not vote for him, oh well. To those who hate him and will vote for the Republican.....SHAME ON YOU! If you think things are bad now under our Republican-lite president, just wait till the conservatives take control!

As Ann Landers used to say: Wake up and smell the coffee!

Marie Burns said...

I know Kate Madison. Kate Madison is a friend of mine. And Kate Madison is no Winning Progressive.

Kate & I correspond almost daily, and if she is an Obamabot, she has been repeatedly & consistently lying to me for a couple of years with our hundreds of shared complaints about Obama's shortcomings.

That said, I would disagree with Kate on one particular in her last post: "To those of you who hate Obama and will not vote for him, oh well."

For a progressive (a) to sit home and not vote, or (b) to vote for a minor party progressive candidate is a vote for the Republican candidate. To actually vote for the Republican as an in-your-face-Obama protest is TWO votes for the Republican. Sorry to be so blunt, but selecting either alternative is stupid, naive and essentially anti-liberal. The GOP is counting on lunkheads like you.

I live in Bush v. Gore Florida. I do not forgive a single well-intentioned fool who "showed Gore what-for" and voted for Ralph Nader. Those "high-minded" progressives brought us the Iraq War, torture, warrentless wiretapping, tax breaks for the rich, the deficit, the 2008 economic meltdown, John Roberts, Sam Alito, etc. There is no point in claiming to have progressive principles & then acting against any chance for those principles to be enacted into law. If we elect a liberal Congress, it will pass quasi-liberal laws, and Obama will not dare to veto them, even if he IS a Republican in his heart. A Republican president most certainly would.

People who hold Republican "values" and vote Republican against their own best interests & the interests of the nation are pathetic. But people who vote Republican or don't vote at all when they hold liberal values are nothing short of treasonous. So grow up and act like a responsible citizen: work for liberal Congressional candidates, & on election day, hold your nose & vote for Obama.

The Constant Weader

cek said...

Kate,

I understand your point of view. (I've appreciated the way that viewpoint has sharpened, along with your writing, over the last couple years.) At least one of my close friends is clinging for dear life to the Supremes argument too. I see its power for many who refuse to be tipped over the edge into complete cynicism/despair. I admire you for that. Twenty years ago I would have been right there with you.

But waddyamean, "when" the conservatives take control? Chris Hedges is right, we lost that battle decades ago. The moneyed interests won and have been giving marching orders to the conservatives -- and the rest of us -- ever since.

But what on earth should make us think that Obama will not, having achieved a second term and owing that achievement not to us but to the Big Financiers who raised his billion, turn around and make exactly the Supreme Court appointment that they expect? Any indication of consistency he has given us on any issue at any time throughout his very short public career is that he is not just beholden to the corporatocracy, he's supportive of it, indebted to it and philosophically one with it.

The Supreme Court is the last card they hold, and it's a bluff like all the rest. Call them on it and they'll keep telling you it's a face card when you can see that joker plain as day. Sooner or later you just have to walk away from the table.

Denis Neville said...

Believe me, I have been thinking about it…and smelling the coffee.

“One thing is for certain: right now, the Democratic Party is absolutely correct in its assessment that kicking its base is good politics. Why is that? Because they know that they have inculcated their base with sufficient levels of fear and hatred of the GOP, so that no matter how often the Party kicks its base, no matter how often Party leaders break their promises and betray their ostensible values, the base will loyally and dutifully support the Party and its leaders…

“In light of that fact, ask yourself this: if you were a Democratic Party official, wouldn't you also ignore -- and, when desirable, step on -- the people who you know will support you no matter what you do to them? That's what a rational, calculating, self-interested, unprincipled Democratic politician should do…Anyone who pledges unconditional, absolute fealty to a politician -- especially 18 months before an election -- is guaranteeing their own irrelevance.” – Glenn Greenwald, The Impotence of the Loyal Partisan Voter

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/04/05/democrats/index.html

What is the answer? I do not know. But saying one will support Obama’s re-election 18 months before the 2012 election just confirms the above dynamic. What will ever persuade Obama and the Democratic Party to change by doing so?

Karen Garcia said...

I too can vouch that Kate is no Winning Progressive. But, but, but... I think it is a mistake to announce our voting intentions this early in the game. I think it is our job right now to keep signalling our deep disappointment in the current White House and keep our voting choices to ourselves. Anything can happen between now and then. Not that I think Obama or any of his minions actually read this blog, but if they do, they'll say "Harumph! Those whiners can bitch and moan to their hearts' content, but they'll vote for me anyway... and I will have no incentive to look at the People's Budget, stop the wars, rein in Wall Street or any of that stuff. I just love the Tea Party, because it makes me look human as well as Democratic. Heh, heh, heh... got em right where I want em."

Kate Madison said...

Dennis-

Do you really think that trashing Obama and whining about how mean he is being to us will make him change? You need to get over yourself. He is not going to change. The whole system (as Chris Hedges says) has been taken over by corporations and their lobbies for a long time. That is not the point!

But....there is better and worse. (Read Marie Burns comment if you still don't get that.) Obama is no liberal, but he will not veto liberal legislation if it is sent to his desk. That is a huge difference between him and Bush--or any other Republican.

And I notice that not one of you has commented on the disastrous congressional elections in 2010--where Russ Feingold was ousted in Wisconsin by a really stupid Tea Partier! Why? Because Citizens United bankrolled the Tea Partier--thank you Supremes! He had 15 million dollars more than Feingold, and (I am sure you know) money talks. And decides votes. If there were any of you who did not vote in 2010 for your Democratic representative or senator, then I hold you partially responsible for what is going on now!

You do know that in several mid western states, starting with my home state of Wisconsin, there has been big time UNION BUSTING! No more collective bargaining there. And in Michigan, the governor has effectively become a dictator--dismissing elected city and county officials he deems unworthy. This is scary! And it has happened because of a combination of Citizens United and Democratic voter apathy. So put that in your smoke and pipe it. And feel shameful if you are one of those Democratic voters who did not vote.

To CEK: I doubt you were 20 years ago where I am today. I am 72 years old and have had quite a bit of political experience. I would like to know how you have evolved and where you stand now. What do you mean by "walking away from the table?" Sounds like a cop out to me!

To Marie Burns: Many thanks! I agree that I got a bit wussy in my comment about "not voting....oh well." You are right! Not voting is "essentially naive, stupid and anti-liberal." I hope all of you idealists will hold on to your worthy ideals, go out and work like hell for progressive candidates--and as you are holding tight to your worthy ideals, don't forget to hold your nose as you vote for Obama. AMEN.

Valerie Long Tweedie said...

At this point, I am not looking at the final showdown between Obama and whatever Republican shill they put on the ticket in November 2012. I hold the tiniest bit of hope that we can get a progressive challenger in the Primary and possibly push Obama out of the picture altogether. I know the incumbent has a huge advantage, but Obama and Messina have underestimated how angry and disenchanted the base of Democrats are. I believe also that they have underestimated the size of the base of the Democratic Party. People like me, who once considered themselves moderates, have gone left - because the Progressives are the only reasonable people left in the room.

We can give serious consideration to Kate's point of view AFTER the Primary but in the meantime, let it be known that we welcome (and would work for and give what little money we can spare to) a progressive challenger in the Democratic Primary. I think we could still get a top candidate to run against Obama if that person was convinced that he or she had a chance to upset the status quo. We have nothing to lose supporting a challenger in the Primary. The trick will be getting one challenger and not dividing our vote.

And Kate, we know you are on our side. You only say what a lot of us know deep down – a vote for Obama means a slower death which could buy us some time to possibly change the political atmosphere and undo the damage of Citizens United. I don't know a single Democrat who is going to vote Republican to teach Obama a lesson; we are not that stupid. But Dennis is right; Obama and Messina are counting on our fear to drive us their way and to give up early. Surely we have it in us for one last battle.

Let's them a run for their money and fight what could be the last good fight.

Valerie

Karen Garcia said...

This just in from Jim Messina -- If you tell us "I'M IN" within the next 48 hours, you will receive 100 free clothespins to hand out to the folks who want both hands free to pull that lever for somebody they just can't stand. And if you're among the first 100 volunteers who will work for the Obama Movement for no pay, we will also send you a free copy of The Supremes' Greatest Hits to remind you of one of your all-important talking points. Baby, Where Did Our Love Go? I know, I know, we Just Keep You Hangin On, but too bad, that's just how we operate.

Kate Madison said...

One last thought. Can we all just forget about Jim Messina and Obama and take those 100 clothespins and launch the progressive House and Senate races. Yes, what we need to do is STOP thinking about Obama tomorrow or the next day, and stop trying to find an appropriate challenger, We need to be working for progressive House and Senate candidates who already HAVE announced their candidacies. We need to work hard for them. Obama, or a progressive challenger, will not make the difference. More progressives in the House and Senate are what we need! And in this fight we have a dog. We are not helpless--as we are with JimmyBoy Messina.

Let's GET OUT THERE and work our butts off. It is not too soon to start. ACT BLUE, BOLD Progressives, Democracy for America, MoveOn, FireDog Lake, Progressives United, Change.Org and several other good organizations are asking for our help now.

We need to stop whining and do what we can. And, as well, write to JimmyBoy Messina (as I have done) and tell him to take you off his mailing list--that you are not going to work for Obama, etc. etc.

John said...

Where's the political savvy in negotiating away your biggest bargaining chip (YOUR VOTE) almost two years before election day? Do that now and you're yielding to the argument of fear and falling into line right behind Messina and, yes, WP's bottom line as well. In fact, you're eating out of their hands. Messina can move on; you're in the bag; he doesn't even have to waste clothespins on you anymore. And, one can suppose -- because Kate argues it so strongly, and publicly, and at this particular point in time -- that Kate expects all of us to declare the same fealty to the Obama-No-Matter-What cause. The wise course for realists is to run up a white flag with respect to your vote for the most powerful office in the land.

OK, so concede the White House to the guy who betrayed just about everything you believe in, BUT fight for a progressive Congress, right? If Obama's most thoughtful and persuasive critics are already throwing in the towel for the White House in 2012, what will be the ramifications on those congressional races we also care about?

You think such a declaration by our champions in the blogosphere will serve as a boon for the progressive hopefuls in the Congress? No, it will undercut them severely. No challenger for the White House would step forward in that scenario. Then the Big Dog Media will badger Congressional hopefuls continually as to whether there is any daylight between them and Obama. They will have to lie to themselves and the public with regard to Obama and his record to remain credible as candidates. They will be muzzled and self-censored, with no alternative leader of the party, thanks to the OBAMA EXCEPTION.

But if there were a challenger for the White House, or a Third Party, the good people in Congress could put all their talents to work for themselves, the challenger and the millions of lately dispossessed. You want to see an energized base? Give me a real challenger to Obama, or a New Progressive Party. That butt you speak of will be off this couch in a New York minute with a million others now foaming at the mouth in frustration.

Ah, but what about the Supreme Court? Even if I knew Obama would appoint another Louis Brandeis or a William J. Brennan, I'd still not vote for him. Because for every good deed Obama does for the people, he takes it back by doing a hundred favors for the corporate elites. He's their guy, not mine, just about every day of the year.

Maybe confession is good for the soul. We should just do it in private.

Jay, Ottawa

FULL DISCLOSURE: I've never not voted and I intend to vote next time; I'm in my late 70s; and I'd love to take Kate to lunch. Because I would learn a lot from a classy lady; and I just might crowd WP off her dance card.

Kate Madison said...

Jay-

You need to learn about the realities of the political process in our crazy system of government. Obama has limited power in all of this, except that he wields the pen that signs or vetoes legislation. And the Bully Pulpit--which he has sadly neglected!

Doubt we would have much to talk about at lunch, since I am still trying to digest your comment that you would not vote for Obama even if he appointed another Louis Brandeis or William J. Brennan to the Supremes! Really? Gosh, I truly am speechless!

Valerie Long Tweedie said...

You are right of course, Kate; we should work for progressive candidates in the House and Senate who have already declared their candidacies. And these candidates should be the focus of our energy and money right now.

But I maintain, if the President were a different leader, making it known that he supported legislation put forth by progressive members of the Congress (and there has been a lot), then those bills would get a lot more support within the Congress and certainly the serious attention they deserve. We have too many cowardly members of Congress who will vote whichever way the wind blows. We HAVE to be looking for and forward to a strong, Democratic challenger in the Primary because leadership matters.

No serious, strong contender is going to put his/her neck out unless it is pretty clear that the Progressive base is going to back that person up in the Primary. The message needs to be crystal clear; the base is looking for another presidential option. There is no reason why we can't support progressive candidates and let it be known we want a challenger. I'm hoping that political researchers are reading blogs like this. I want them to know I am mad as hell and not to be taken lightly.

And we are not whining. We are airing our anger, concerns, worries and fears in the hope that we are not alone. I have to admit, I had pretty much given up on politics last December/January because I felt so silenced and isolated in my political beliefs by so many of my Democratic friends. It has been so good for me to have found this blog and to have been able to correspond, through our comments, with like-minded people. And Kate, YOU are one of the people who attracted me to this blog-site in the first place. I figured if you, Marie and Karen were all together in one place, it HAD to be good.

Valerie

P.S. and whoever, was is Jay or Dennis?, who made the Winning Progressive crack - TAKE IT BACK! Kate is nothing like that clown!

Anonymous said...

I'm too lazy to make a long list. Here's the short one....

Repub Pres=

Bye-bye Roe v Wade

Hello DOMA

Planned Parenthood? Not a chance.

Haley Simon

Denis Neville said...

@ Valerie

Re: quote behaving badly

“P.S. and whoever, was is Jay or Dennis?, who made the Winning Progressive crack - TAKE IT BACK! Kate is nothing like that clown!”

Please take the time (seconds?) to check the source of that crack, rather than a sweeping “whoever, was it …?" Anything read and attributed should have a source backing it up. Basic literacy.

It wasn’t me.

Check John @ April 26, 2011 12:19 PM & 8:46 PM.

I have enjoyed and respected Kate’s, as well as Marie Burn’s and Karen Garcia’s, posted opinions in the New York Times for a longtime.

It is for this reason that I was somewhat take aback by Kate’s, “Do you really think that trashing Obama and whining about how mean he is being to us will make him change? You need to get over yourself.”

“Trashing Obama?” “Whining?” I “need to get over” myself? When expressing my opinion?

I am truly disappointed.

Ad hominem attacks are a preferred tool for people who run out of real arguments, or are unable to understand, or just outright dislike someone else's opinion in the first place.

Valerie Long Tweedie said...

Sorry, Denis, you are right. I should have checked who said it before shooting off the comment. I added it on the end of a prepared post as an afterthought - but no excuse! Mea Culpa!

Valerie

Anonymous said...

To the remark about not forgiving Nader supporters:
Well, I voted for Nader. I didn’t do it to “show Gore what-for”. I voted my conscience. I didn’t owe Gore MY vote and he should have won in a landslide by getting his message across more convincingly. He seemed at the time (and I still think so) a corporate shill like the rest of them. Look at how betrayed everyone now feels by the guy who did fire up the country. Would Gore have been anything more than a vague ineffective bumper between one crappy administration and the next crappy one? He might have been better, or worse. We’ll never really know whether or not he might have harbored Bush-like warmongering fantasies. And I’ve noticed he hasn’t been real visible and vocal on the BP spill.
It’s a little like David Brooks fostering generational warfare to accuse Nader supporters of bringing us warfare and torture as if we did it actively. If I recall, Gore won the popular election, and it was the Supremes who actively brought us the Bush Regime. Let’s not start infighting among people with whom we share most of the same values.
Besides, what’s wrong with being a “high-minded” progressive? If we all march in place and obediently vote the party line just to keep the other guy out (who, let’s be fair, nobody saw the Bush years of horror coming), we’ll never change the 2 party system. I could say that I blame Obama voters for bringing us persecution of the Bradley Mannings, or the TSA gropings, but I would have to include myself in that, since I voted for him too – with my conscience.

John in Lafayette said...

And, please, don't confuse that "John" with me.

I would love to see a truly progressive candidate challenge barack Obama in the primaries. An earlier poster mad the point that the plethora of tea partiers in the Republican ranks has had the effect of pulling the whole party to the right. When was the last time there was a Rockefeller or Weicker in the Republican party?

We need to do the same with the Democrats. Our party - largely in response to what's been going on in the Republican party - has been pulled to the right in ways that were inconceiveable not that long ago.

Why not draft Elizabeth Warren for president?

cek said...

Kate,

I'm 55 and twenty years ago I was a committed liberal Democratic voter. I thought people who avowed liberal principles and didn't vote for the Democratic presidential candidate couldn't possibly be real liberals because they didn't knuckle under and do what had to be done. After all, there just wasn't any other choice. My God, JUST THINK OF THE SUPREME COURT!!!!

I am still a committed, activist liberal who votes. I just won't vote for the Democratic presidential candidate. The party label meant something to me, and in local and some state races it still does. But the Democratic party moved away from me and many of us, and damned if I'm going to move right -- and keep moving right -- just to follow it.

I voted for Gore because the alternative was too horrible to contemplate. After 12/10/00 it was obvious we would never be able to elect another Democratic president, and we haven't. I think Obama made it pretty clear what he was and what we were in for, and I didn't vote for him in 2008. I won't do it next year either.

My vote matters to me as much as yours does to you, and I'll cast it wherever I can still retain some modicum of self-respect as an old-fashioned FDR-style liberal. And I'll continue to fight to make it possible for another generation to have the same privilege. That's what I call stepping away from the table that has been set for us.

Marie Burns said...

To CEK: I'm sure your vote does matter to you, but it matters more to Republicans who will gladly accept it but not thank you for it. There is no "self-respect" in a liberal's casting a vote that helps Republican candidates. There is, however, a good deal of hubris & old-fashioned foolishness in it. Read my post above to get a better understanding of voting arithmetic.

Valerie Long Tweedie said...

Total non sequitur here - Jon Stewart interviewed Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders this week http://www.thedailyshow.com. It isn't anything new to most of us but I always like these clips to send on to my non-political friends and even my Republican relatives. The interviews are always humorous but the message gets across.

Not sure this is the correct forum for this announcement - If it offends anyone let me know and I will cease and desist.

John in Lafayette said...

I know it's off topic here, but the NY Times doesn't allow us to comment on comments.

You response to Gail Collins today, Karen, was priceless. In particular, when talking about Donald Trump's boyhood, you wrote:

"Trump is not one to talk about academics. As a rich kid in the Big Apple of the 1950s, he was considered a troubled enough youth to be sent upstate to the New York Military Academy for the incorrigible. That school is now defunct because of financial mismanagement and a hazing scandal, so we know The Donald had to have learned at least two things on site."

Beautifully on point and laugh out loud funny. Just another illustration of why I look forward to reading your output every day.

Anonymous said...

The debate about the Lesser of Two Evils in 2012 is important. All of what we applaud among our best critics on the sidelines is a waste unless their words move voting in 2012. We are now wrestling, town meeting style, with the pros and cons of voting for Obama as the lesser of two evils.

I am not convinced that it’s “ALL ABOUT THE SUPREMES.” The Court is the weakest link to hold the line on the progressive agenda. If a Brandeis were available to Obama, he would never nominate him to the Court. O lacks the soul to fight for such people especially in a Consenting Senate riddled with elitists. For every Obama appointee, on or off the court, who plays fair, there are ten who pull for the elites.

Real power rests in the White House and the Congress. Given the betrayals of Obama’s first administration, how can we give him a pass in 2012? He is not “republican lite”; he is a corporatist heavy. Tell me again the difference between a republican heavy and a corporatist heavy. Is collaboration too strong a word for voting either of those two types into office for four more years?

A president is the head of his party, the big fundraiser, controlling the disbursement of money and power. If someone else doesn’t take back the party, or at least put Obama on notice, then other Democrats running for office in 2012, with scant exception, must follow the Obama platform. There goes your big hope for a Progressive surge in the Congress. The progressive base will be disillusioned or hamstrung by Team Obama.

A word about single issue voting, especially as it relates to the Court, especially Roe v. Wade. Let’s face it, there are single-issue voters on both ends of the abortion debate. Obama comes down on the pro-choice side. For single-issue pro-choicers -- and even for voters who see it as the most important among an array issues -- 2012 may well be all about the supremes. If that’s your cause, OK, Obama is the lesser evil. At the same time, the rest of the Progressive agenda is guaranteed to fall, at which point the distinction between the two evils grows more faint.

On another matter, which will be familiar to those of you who have followed the posts on this topic: After Kate’s post#1, where Kate recommended we all vote for Obama in 2012, this is what ‘John’ actually wrote in surprise at the Kate he thought he knew:
“Have you been doing lunch with "The Winning Progressive" of late?” 


And this is a sample of how John’s sentence was summarized and dealt with in later posts:
“To compare me to Winning Progressive is insulting!” and, from another respected source, “Kate Madison is a friend of mine. And Kate Madison is no Winning Progressive. ”

Furthermore, poor John was conflated with so-called liberal Obama haters who will either not vote in 2012, or who will vote Republican: “The GOP is counting on lunkheads like you.” “Treason” was also charged amid those outbursts. Ouch! I thought I was listening to FOX News there for a moment.

Alas, my lede in the offending post did indeed introduce the personal into the discussion. What I hoped would be taken as gentle chiding was instead received as disrespect to a good and strong voice for progressivism; and for that I deeply apologize, both for having offended Kate and to have distracted a serious group on Sardonicky from focusing on the issues and the arguments themselves, irrespective of persons, about alternatives in 2012.

Peace, Jay Ottawa

Kate Madison said...

Here is the kind of activism I was pushing for in my last post.

Thanks to the efforts of thousands of people in Wisconsin and the tens of thousands more who used ActBlue to stand with them, recall petitions have been filed against five of the Republicans who voted for Gov. Walker's union busting bill. In 2010, Republicans lied to Wisconsin voters about what they were going to do once elected, and now those same voters are getting another chance to decide who stays and who goes.

That's why we built ActBlue: to make sure the powerful are as accountable to you as they are to people with lots of time and money to spend on politics. We built ActBlue to demonstrate to politicians, media figures and anyone paying attention that your voice has power. In short, we built ActBlue for you.

That's why we rely on your support to operate. We believe that if you like having a say in those debates, you'll send us a small contribution to make sure it stays that way. All it takes is a $15 recurring donation to ensure that ActBlue will be there to amplify your voice today, tomorrow and in 2012.

If you don't think that matters, I've got news for you: In Wisconsin, your voice was so loud that an entire country heard you. A few thousand protesters reached millions of Americans, and together, they raised over $4 million for Wisconsin Democrats and their allies in under two weeks. All Republicans could do in response was handcuff the doors of the Capitol Building shut and hope.

Where Republicans cut off your access to the corridors of power, we increase it. Where they muffle your your voice, we amplify it. If you think that's something worth fighting for, then please:

Support ActBlue

From all of us at ActBlue, thanks.

Erin Hill
Executive Director

James Logan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
James Logan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Valerie Long Tweedie said...

I'm at peace with you, Jay! Your apology was genuinely expressed.

Valerie

Anonymous said...

"Do you really think that trashing Obama and whining about how mean he is being to us will make him change? You need to get over yourself."

Classic ad hominem attack against someone who does not agree with your view. Sadly, it doesn't prove a thing.

"He is not going to change. The whole system (as Chris Hedges says) has been taken over by corporations and their lobbies for a long time. That is not the point!"

Actually many of us believe that IS the point. Our votes mean nothing. They are bought and paid for by the Corporate Elite, not to mention they control the voting machines. The outcome of the elections are determined well before we vote; you are naive in believing we have a real choice. Not to mention that if someone refuses to vote for one or the other of the candidates that are essentially the same, somehow that makes them a shirker of their duty. Don't make me laugh. Those who believe this have bought in, hook, line, and sinker to the party line whether it is republican or democratic. We have no real choice, and until we fight against the two-party system and against the monied control of elections, we have no power. Not to mention the fact that voting for Ralph Nader was a vote FOR progressive interests. How ridiculous it was to claim that a vote for Ralph somehow undermined Gore's chance. Please don't make me laugh again. The Supremes decided that election, pure and simple, and it had nothing to do with Ralph. To add, please don't suppose that I think your argument for The Supremes somehow is reiterated in mine. The Supremes are a chosen lot no matter who is president. It doesn't matter who is in office; things will get worse because all of the elected officials, for many, many moons, have spoken with the same voice. You apparently are not listening. Many of us have stopped swallowing the drink.