Archive for Media

Fat Finger of Blame, Dems

None of us has enough fingers to point for Hillary’s loss. The blame goes everywhere from her to DNC officials to gerrymandering to the FBI to disaffected white women to skewed media coverage and on and on and on.

Honest to God, I’m sick of each and every pundit and other BS artist who has the definitive “insight.”

Few point to the most apparent factor — sexism. There’s a palpable joke that this go-round American voters who went for for the African-American MAN in ’08 and ’12 did not vote for the (any color) WOMAN. Let me play Capt’n Obvious here.

What’s a Democrat to do? What are all the combined Democrats to do?

Not Like the Other

Since FDR’s time, we can see that Dems and Republicans treat these campaigns and voters differently. President-elect Donald J. Trump may not be a Republican in any real sense, yet his behavior suits the GOP. He’s an anti-democracy, anti-American, zero-sum-game scoundrel.

Opposed to this win-at-all-costs attitude, Dems do what they did in Obama’s terms, or Carter’s for that matter. Liberal/progressive types do not tend to play a zero-sum game and more important, they can be much more introspective as a group.

For the latter point, start thinking of the Republican autopsy after the 2012 election. The GOP’s G.O.P. (growth and opportunity project) detailed:

  1. Why the electorate reelected Obama
  2. What the GOP would have to do going forward to sync with changing national demographics

The party did none of the essential steps. They lucked out big time, this one last time.

While it is and will continue to be less essential, as it has been for nearly a century, white women elect the President. They are, for the moment, the largest voting bloc, and they tend to turn out. Praise or blame white women for what we get. Sure, this time, their hubbies, sons, and beaux polled more for Trump than the women, but a much smaller percentage of them cast ballots.

2016 almost surely is the last time demographics allow this.That should work strongly in Dems’ favor. There are more and more people of color annually, a trend that only accelerates. White folk just can’t stop dying either, so the more conservative, even reactionary voters are a dwindling party.

Moreover, there’s no way in hell Trump’s dumb doctrinaire band of bozos will be able to deliver on his pledges to return jobs (largely to now dead industries), to renegotiate defense and economic treaties, to build the fantasy 2,000-mile wall and on and on. Sure, he can start by blaming each failure on inherited conditions or China or terrorists or this or that. As the impotent lack of solutions pile in huge heaps, voters will not be please. They’ll finally see they were conned. Then it’s time for more elections.

Now What?

Yet expect the Dems to visit the oracles (and pollsters and academics), have myriad focus groups, and create their own postmortem. Unlike the Republican Pooh-Bahs though, they are far more likely to act on the consensus findings.

That’s a bit silly in a way. Putting on my sparkly pundit robe and cap, I see a narrow loss, with Hillary snagging up to 2 million more votes, the House losing a few seats to Dems, and the Senate damned close. They could continue to do more of the same and expect to win the next POTUS vote, or two or three.

On the other hand, the GOP skunked them in 2010 and 2012 with their REDMAP project that grabbed state-level control in the 32 states that do their own redistricting. Hence, the Republicans were smarter than Democrats here. They got to gerrymander, and gamed the hell of the system following the last Census. Dems have much to atone for here.

I predict here when the Dems get control on Congress again, both houses, they still won’t be the asses GOP legislators have been at state and Congressional levels. They won’t obstruct the President. I am sure Republican voters as well as pols will view this as a sign of weakness. Dems are not in the mold of Conan the Barbarian.

 

 

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Giving Hillary Hell

No secrets from me. You can hear my opinion on the no-criminal-charges for Hillary FBI report below. The punchline is I say she’ll end up with a slight bump in voter support (a.k.a. polls) when things settle.

Contrast that view with the big media chorus of doom for her. Every bozo from those on FoxNews to NBC and on creak and croak that the exoneration means the opposite — that she’ll be weighed down by this burden to the November election. (Insert The Game of Thrones scene here and chant, “Shame. Shame. Shame. Shame.”

As my mother used to say when she was disgusted with dummies, “For crying out loud in a bucket!” We can supposed the talking heads got together like middle-school kids to decide what color to wear that day.

I was amazed to turn on a local NPR station while I made dinner and heard the same. I like to delude myself that they folk tend to have more sense than the herd.

I did see a savvy recap of what’s up in a pollwatcher Daily Kos diary HCR Is Getting Gor’ed By An Incompetent Media. Spot on. We can also be sure when it’s clear they were wrong on this, they won’t apologize and ‘fess up anymore than right wingers would.

It’s enough to make me think for myself.

 

 

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Joy, Not Despair, 2012

Without gloating, or with only a little, we held forth on yesterday’s elections.

Even the almost invariably optimistic Ryan did not see most Republicans rethinking their obstructionism. Mike predicted a deal on the auto-sequester at year’s end, only because that would be political suicide for Congressional Republicans in both houses if they didn’t show a bit of wit.

We talked about the role new Sen. Elizabeth Warren might play, the likelihood of Sen. John Kerry moving to Secretary of State, and other impacts of left-leaning victories in Congress. Mike started with a joyous recap of the four marriage-equality state-level victories.

Both of us were disappointed but not surprised at the vitriolic and graceless post-elections comments from GOP candidates and winger media types. That likely foreshadows their uncooperative futures, willing to hurt all of us for their political shading.

Listen in as we predict what might happen with the re-upped Obama and maybe even filibuster reform.

icon for podpress  Joy or Despair 2012 [35:08m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Nervous, Optimistic Elections Podcast

John L. Galligan, the blogger at Chimes at Midnight, joined us again. A keen and witty political observer — and a bit of an historian — he gave some perspective on races. We covered the POTUS, the US Senate from MA, and even ended up with his local state house races in Arlington/Belmont.

Listen in as we kick around why folk might go for Romney or Brown or such, why MA has never, ever sent a woman to the U.S. Senate, and what some past elections demonstrated about the American public.

All three of us agreed that the big races will be very tight, irrationally so. We’re, as the squishy expression goes, cautiously optimistic. Click the show in the player below for our reasoning.

icon for podpress  Galligan on Elections [36:17m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Warren/Brown: Bout 1 Podcast

We talked today about the first debate between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren last week. It was a real confrontation between the incumbent Senator and the challenger. We’re certain to see and hear more nastiness from Brown in the next three debates. Monday will be bout 2 at UMASS/Lowell.

Listen in as we recap the highlights and shameful depths of the hour. The aftereffects continue and will certainly reappear next week. They are already in negative ads and the behavior of Brown supporters. We hit on both sides’ strong and weak points.

We didn’t shy away from the few Warren stumbles. Brown really hurt himself though with shallow, personal, racist attacks. At the least, he put a lie to his myth of being the nice guy in the Senate.

We chat it up and down and around.

icon for podpress  Warren/Brown Senate Debate [35:02m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Elephant Leavings Podcast

Ryan and Mike has a good time recapping the GOP doings in Tampa. Rather, the non-doings, as it was all too plain that the Republicans abjectly failed to provide any reason to vote for Romney/Ryan instead of against Obama/Biden. The speakers, including the candidates, gave no details, not specifics, no proposals and no plans to better the country and its economy.

Moreover, even the Missus could not humanize the not-very-human Mitt. We look forward to the contrast with this week’s Dem speakers who are certain to offer a real path and speak without the lies and pretense we heard this past week.

Ryan suggests that the Dems should take the weak attack the Tampa folk left with, the question that worked in another election, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago.” Unfortunately for the Republicans, the vast majority of Americans can only say yes. They’d like more, faster, but yes.

Alas for the elephant herd, the fringe GOP platform suddenly is obvious and real. In lieu of any plans and proposals, voters can only look to the stated objectives of the party. They would scare all but the most extreme.

Teeing off of one of Mike’s friend’s view, they discussed what happens if Romney loses. Ryan backed the friend in predicting an even worse purge of moderates. Mike figures it would immediately lead to another soul (if you pardon that word here) searching by the party.

Listen in as we talk about what was and was not in the week that kind of was.

icon for podpress  RNC Convention [30:04m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Picking Paul Podcast

It’s not an assured victory for President Obama following Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as VP candidate, but it’s close. There are those unknown issues, such as the couple of billionaires and many millionaires who have pledged to spend whatever it takes in PAC and direct contributions to put the GOP in power.

Perhaps more important, Obama and his crew have to frame the monstrous Ryan budget proposals clearly. Then, they have to make sure the Dems, moderates and independents drag themselves to the polls on November 6th.

Listen in as our Ryan Adams and Mike speak to the Romney/Ryan horror show. Our Ryan has some comparisons and contrasts to Sarah Palin. Mike notes the foreign policy deficits and ignorance of both Romney and Ryan. This is not the time or state of the world for bumblers to try to learn on the job. Those gross shortcomings should reveal themselves in debates and campaign coverage.

Mike again went on about how this election more than any in memory will come to fantasy v. reality. The 40% or more of voters who need to believe in the abject failure trickle-down-economics that forms the core of Ryan’s income stream. Listen in as we scoff.

For this to work for Obama and the Dems, they have to make the effects of the Romney/Ryan proposals plain. Moreover, the media have to pay attention. PACs can suck it.

icon for podpress  Paul Ryan VP Pick [30:33m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Kearns Goodwin Update Show

A month from the primary that almost certainly will decide the 3rd Middlesex MA Senate race, five Dems are in the race for the open seat. Joe Kearns Goodwin joined us got an update.

We couldn’t get him to pick on fellow candidates, but he did get into his issues. In a contest to replace a respected progressive, Susan Fargo, who’s retiring, a big part of this race is differentiating yourself. Listen in as Kearns Goodwin describes his emphasis on specific areas of education as well as a drive for a graduated income tax. While he has combat experience in two wars and has detailed proposals in education, he still sees the big battle to be fought in the Joint Revenue Committee area. Hear him describe how refining the tax burdens, and as important, defining where additional moneys should go are the future.

Kearns Goodwin is a champion of training MA workers (maybe starting in kindergarten) to have the skills employers will need and many already have going unfilled. Click below to hear him describe the ways he thinks we need to match jobs with job seekers.

He also spoke about what he liked and saw lacking in the recent agenda of the General Court.

icon for podpress  Joe Kearns Goodwin update [29:44m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Making Ballot Initiatives Saner

Rep. Denise Provost (27th Somerville) strikes the right and essential note with me. She is in for the long fight, if necessary, to make the ballot initiative process more reasonable and better for us all.

She joined us to speak to her bill H1830 and complementing legislation such as S12. These would bring us in line with other states as well as the original aims of plebiscites to amend our MA constitution or repeal and add laws.

Her 1830 would up the requirement to get an initiative in the works from 3% of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election to 7%. She is quick to note that not only is our current requirement the lowest among the 24 states and D.C. that have a form of the process, but that with fewer and fewer citizens actually casting ballots, the 7% roughly equals our original requirements. In our current system, about 1% of eligible voters can drive a petition to ballot. She explained the history of MA’s process from 1917.

Rep. Provost discussed how overly easy initiatives are “an end run about the legislative process,” without the public process and very little transparency. Particularly in the new post-Citizens United era, she noted that such ballots are “less and less about people and more and more about money.”

She delves into the criticisms of H1830 and S12 that would limit the subject matter for initiatives. For example, some groups chant, “Let the people vote!” and call increasing the signature requirements an “onerous” way of limiting grassroots democracy. In addition, she spoke to how interest groups have used paid signature gatherers to skew the process under the pretext of citizen movements.

Listen in as she decries “how our democratic process can be highjacked.” She also forecasts the current bills, which if they do not advance, will appear in the next legislative session.

I join her in a call to let people know, folk you influence and your legislators, that you support reforms here.

~Mike

icon for podpress  Denise Provost [32:23m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Walsh on 2012 Races Podcast

MA Dem Party Chair John Walsh is always funny, always fun and scary smart. He joined us today to talk strategy and prospects for the 2012 elections, but he won’t ever forget early 2010.

He led the commonwealth Dems to sweeping victory in November 2012 while the rest of the nation was awash in GOP fervor. In no small part, that was because he learned from the special-election loss at the start of the year that saw Republican Scott Brown edge Dem Martha Coakley for the US Senate seat. He continues to build on the lessons he learned after that, including conversations with Dem activists and pols.

Chief among those are:

  • start early
  • put resources in the hands of the locals and listen to their judgment

For the first, he knows that it would be disastrous for some party official in Boston to show up five weeks before the election with a new, improved plan for campaigning. Instead, the found that it is at the precinct and ward level where the organizers understand the patterns and trends locally. Communication needs to be both ways bottom to top and top to bottom.

Patrick padI started with my own recurring atonement as illustrated with the attached organizer pad for the 2010 campaign to re-elect Gov. Deval Partrick and Lt. Gov. Tim Murray. When Walsh made it plain that the party strategy centered on activists playing the role of organizers for people they knew, I had no doubt that was a losing plan. As I freely admit, it was instead a winning plan, one that was the foundation for Walsh’s current strategy. While the nation wallowed in red, MA was astonishingly blue, losing only a couple of state representative seats in the reactionary tide. I keep this pad handy to remind me of my pundit fallibility.

Click below to hear John speak of the refined version of keeping and improving on his party’s position. Dems are spreading the word through training and data on possible non-voting party members and party leaners who have not voted in the past two or three Presidentials. Through these vote-builder accounts, local activists can ID those and get them to the polls.

Walsh noted that the difference in that painful special-election defeat was about 50 votes per precinct (“It seemed like much worse,” he told us). Depending on the election (POTUS or not), there can be between 300,000 and 600,000 Dems or leaning Dems among non-voters. For many of those, voting is on their list, but not as high as “brushing teeth and pushing amrs in sweaters” in the case of those with kids. Some are young voters not in the habit yet and others are older voters recently infirm. He sees some of these are candidates for absentee voting.

Others don’t understand the big and small issues in the current contests. In these latter cases, Walsh notes, “When we have voters who don’t get it, it’s our fault.” That’s where he concentrates his work — getting out the vote and making sure Dems know the importance of the issues.

Walsh added that “as much as it pains me to say it,” about 1.1 million MA residents voted for Sarah Palin, largely GOP and unenrolled ones. While 1.9 million smeared the ovals for Joe Biden, the difference per election for Dems is getting them to the polls. Listen in as he describes how the party uses the online voter lists and has gotten 300 town committees trained so far in face-to-face work with those who have not been voting.

For this November, he is well aware that following the Citizens United decision, a disheartening amount of winger ads and other expenditures will target both President Obama and the MA Dem candidate for US Senate. He’s a firm believer that “the only thing that can beat big money” is face-to-face contact, real citizens v. Citizens United. He said that money only “simulates the relationships.”

Beyond the election, he indulged us on the questions at least one US Senate candidate, Marisa DeFranco, raised earlier this month about the process of getting on the ballot. Listen in as he agrees that it can seem arduous to get 10,000 signatures, the 15% of party delegates (around 750) at the June convention to get on the primary ballot. He has the luxury of inheriting the state law and party rules, but added that he’s open to refinements.

This go in November, Walsh is working toward getting an additional 20% to 30% more Dems and leaning Dems to the polls.

~Mike

icon for podpress  John Walsh on 2012 [44:58m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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