Archive for Obama

Elephants Across the Chasm

Like so many instant, distant blatherers, I have had little to add to the discourse lately. Now I note that this morning’s defeat of the most recent Affordable Care Act repeal was a parting cloud that shines a sliver of light.

The cruel and crazy GOP efforts since January had an underlying theme. Both houses of Congress joined with POTUS Trump in spitting screams. “We can do this ourselves. We don’t need any Democrats. We won’t even talk to Democrats. FU!”

Sadly enough, that was almost true. It was also even more toxic sputum. Amusingly enough, Congressional Democrats remain as they have been willing to work with their vile GOP counterparts. There is still one party that cares about little d democracy, process, civility, as well as the commonweal.

There were a few Republican mumbles about maybe doing something with Democrats if all came to naught. This morning some more of them have sighed and admitted it may be time to recognize the existence (and by implication the power) of Dems.

Truth be told

Most Dems were not and are not happy with the A.C.A. and consider it only a solid first step down the path. Quite a few lefties, including this one, want single-payer, the universal health care that works so well in the rest of the industrialized world. We have to live with inefficient, overpriced health policies that keep our levels of health low and our life expectancy under that of the rest of the gang.

Even as GOP types in President Obama’s second term swore they would never let Dems improve the A.C.A. or pass anything meaningful at all, Democrats continued to plead with them to work toward finishing the health legislation.

Since Truman days, the Dems’ best gambit with Republicans has been to let the latter take partial or even full credit. That’s not the way GOP legislators have acted for decades.

Yet in this moment, I suspect this will lubricate the process again. The GOP can save a bit of face by crafting A.C.A. improvements, then proclaiming nothing would have happened without them. Forget that mirror is equally true; just give the little guys their out.

I still want to see a single-payer system, a real overhaul of our bloated and parasitic health care system. The A.C.A. was a start, but only that.

The shift will be from arrogant and obnoxious to merely condescending. That can work. The Dems never slammed and bolted the door.

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Inevitable GOP Grudge

About that cliché of elephants never forgetting, U.S. Republicans truly do not, ever. It happened with Nixon and we are still bearing the aftereffects. It’s about to happen again with Trump.

When Pres. Richard Nixon slithered out of the White House in disgrace, that was a not-to-be-forgotten humiliation, for the party more than for Tricky Dick.  That POTUS hopped about between amoral, immoral and criminal. He snuck away before the Senate could impeach him, and then his VP-becoming-President Gerald Ford pardoned him, so he never faced criminal trials and certainty of prison.

Years later, Nixon was re-imaged as a statesman. In fairness, as terrible as he was domestically and as much as he disdained democracy, our laws and the Constitution, he had foreign-policy credentials — much stronger than any Democratic President since FDR.

In those ways of escaping impeachment, get-out-of-jail-free cards, and rehabilitation, he fared much better than he deserved. Nonetheless, the GOP has never forgotten his disgraced exit.

I have no doubt that is why they so eagerly pursued Bill Clinton’s impeachment, constantly threatened Barack Obama with various legal actions, and did beyond their best to smear and bring bogus charges against Hillary Clinton. They don’t, can’t, won’t forget.

So here we are coming around the flee or take-it bend with Donald Trump. As has been the norm with post-WWII GOP Presidents, his appointees and staff are resigning or facing various charges. That won’t stop.

As it all closes in on this young presidency for an old man/boy, at some point he is likely to realize he’s cooked and facing either absconding or impeachment. I have predicted here that he is most likely to play his usual drama queen, quitting while saying the mean old media and Congress won’t let him do wonderful things and save the nation.

While it is possible he might stick it out and take impeachment, I don’t think that would give him the deniability he so often uses.

When he is forced from office one way or another, the GOP also will not forget. Already, they bait-and-switch with Dem miscreants. Of course Bill Clinton accepted fellatio in the White House, former Rep. Anthony Weiner is a pathetic sexter, and a handful of other Dems have run afoul of laws or social norms. They can’t or won’t consider the huge number of their party who are proven crooks, adulterers and worse. It’s key to pretend here.

The point is when Trump stomps away, that will be the real beginning of the newest GOP feud and grudge fest. They will live and act primarily to pay back Dems for anything that happened with their guys, regardless of how many Republicans joined in calling out and punishing Trump and his minions.

Personal responsibility is not a Republican hallmark.

Of course, for the nation, the big pity is that we have much to accomplish to fix problems and to advance us economically, socially and politically. When Republican office holders are as stupid, malicious and counterproductive as they were with Obama, much less gets done.

Still, let’s get on with it. Dump Trump, and accept that the GOP will play at revenge instead of cleaning their own house. As a group, they just don’t have a culture of advancing the nation.

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Conan v. Thumper, a Resist Lesson

Nearly a decade tutorial should be enough. D.C. Republicans channeled Conan the Barbarian, while in their turn, Dems played the well-socialized Thumper.

Here’s the obvious call — Congressional GOP’ers have far overplayed their hand. The Dems have played like UUs, respecting others. Democrats need to be ready to follow the Republican lead, tromping as well as smiling and caressing.

We heard the calumnies of Barack Obama as he campaigned for the POTUS spot and then held it. The incredible hypocrisy of yelling, “Unfair!,” while claiming Dems are trying to delegitimatize Trump’s Presidency goes beyond risible.

Too nasty v. too nice

Let us frame GOP obstructionism and deceit in cinematic terms. Recall Conan’s answer to his general to what is best in life, “Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women.” This is precisely what the Republican Congress has been doing, continuing into the new administration. It’s scorched earth, regardless of how much it hurts the nation and its citizens.

In contrast, Dems have continued to play by the rules. They seem to be a bunch of UUs, They live out the Seven Principles and continue to hope and even expect Republicans will do likewise. After all, this is how Boomers were raised. In light of lessons from the WWII generation, religion, movies, TV and books, we learned about good and bad behavior, playing fair and civility. Dems are much more like Thumper from Bambi, whose catch-phrase was “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

It’s one-sided respect and fairness.

The GOP is likely to keep control of Congress through 2018. There’s a shot at 2020 or 2022 to flip Congress. The Dems are working hard at the state level, and the current administration’s certain failures to meet promises and goals will catch up. When those who stupidly believe that the media is dishonest and corrupt, not the GOP in D.C. have to accept reality once again, the current destructive bums will go.

That will not be another time for Dems to forgive and forget. Republicans have shown themselves too long in too many ways to be without fairness, graciousness or honor.

While I can’t believe Dems will ever behave as disgracefully as Republicans have, Resist cannot end with a Congress rife with Thumpers.

Dems don’t even need to threaten them with saying, “You’re only getting what you gave us.” There will surely be lamentations of their lawmakers. Yet, that will just be background music. Meanwhile resurgent Dems need to take charge thoroughly. Let the bad guys beg for compromise, which they never gave nor accepted. Then the Dems can consider it.

No more Thumpers.

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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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Whither Dems Podcast

rightsign2The Trump win Tuesday is the right time to stop these weekly podcasts after 9½ years. Watch this URL for occasional commentary, maybe a little video…later.

Today was my usual half-Vulcan Spock self.

We shall survive as a nation, as we did during and after the George W. Bush time. He ruined the economy even more than the typical Republican. We haven’t climbed all the way out of his debt pit. We’ll never get back the many thousands of lives lost to war and jobs destroyed. I fear more of that from Trump.

I snort as Speaker Ryan and GOP sorts claim mandate. The lost the popular vote, held the House only due to gerrymandering in previous years, and hold a paper-thin Senate majority. Mandate, my bad head!

We don’t yet know what malicious laws Congress will try to enact. We do know that the wave of emotion that brought us President Trump is as irrational and ignorant as he. We need look no farther than comparing the cries of do-nothing Congress and throw the rascal out to right-wing voters keeping nearly all the do-nothings and rascals from the GOP in office. Huge duh.

We’ll surely have at least two years of pettiness and malice. As the economy slides and unemployment climbs, even the loudest Trumpettes will feel shame. Let us look historically to see in the last century that again and again Dems have rescued the nation after the GOP has goofed it up.

It’s going to be a rough, disheartening, anti-American two to four years.

icon for podpress  Whither Dems [18:22m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Incivility, gender, race and hate

I threw on my cloak of optimism, supposing that Hillary will become POTUS and that this will be a springboard for a nation more at ease with a woman at top.

I spent many years in Virginia and still identify with the best of us there. Thomas Jefferson in Notes on the State of Virginia (XVIII: Manners), “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just…”

As this motley, churlish election cycle completes in less than a week, let’s discourse on big themes, such as:

  • Following the no-colored-Presidents-for-me tone, how deeply are we experiencing, the no-dames-for-President tone?
  • Are 40% to 50% of us truly OK with a puerile, impulsive ignoramus as out leader?
  • Are the judgmental Europeans right about us as bigots and socially retrograde?
  • Can this election catapult us to a new America of tolerance and egalitarianism?

We’ve had 8 years plus the campaign of “Oh, no, it’s not that Obama is Black. It’s that he’s foreign; Muslim, a pinko. :Assuming POTUS Clinton the Greater, do we then get, “Oh, no, it’s not that Hillary’s a women. It’s that she’s a crook, a criminal, a pinko.”?

I can’t believe 6% or more of the electorate is undecided, or so they claim. Then I”m an incredulous sort. Playing cards so close to your vest makes them tattoos. Bad form.

Let’s kick around the final days of a much too long, far too nasty season.

icon for podpress  Incivility may end [17:38m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Whither the Tiny-Tent Party?

The next several election cycles will be fascinating. Hillary looks like a cinch to win on Nov. 8. Then what?

I see the GOP cracking open their infamous, unused autopsy from the last POTUS loss. Their only shot at regaining the White House and making the big-tent fantasy real will be there. On the Dem side, Congressional Republicans are already promising to obstruct Clinton at every turn and even try mightily to impeach her for imagined and disproven sins. So Democrats as a party and as pols will have to:

  • Copy the 2010/11 GOP strategy of controlling state legislatures and thus redistricting and thus House makeup
  • Rally the public who are sick to death of obstructionism to first goad their Reps into cooperation and second to defeat those up for election in the next two cycles

Dems have hard tasks, but at least theirs won’t require mental, emotional,cultural shifts as with the GOP.

Let’s play the game along with Republicans. They lost the POTUS yet again in 2012 and followed that with the promies and (dare we say) hope of the Growth & Opportunity Project (G.O.P.). That jocularly named autopsy detailed the failures, forecast the demographic trends, and mandated what they needed to do to fill up a big tent of women, African Americans, Latinos, and, well, Democrats.

The lameness of pary head Reince Priebus and ticket head Donald Trimp seem the antithesis of the autopsy findings. Assuming the obvious Hillary Clinton victory in two weeks, do Republicans:

  • Accept that they can only get the voted of poorly educated white men?
  • Cling to being “the party of Lincoln” even though the modern bastardization couldn’t be farther from his ideals?
  • Try to live with a splintered and split personality of far right extremists, bigots and other anachronisms?
  • Do another deep dive and this time really try to follow the analysis findings?

They really have become an asylum or other institution of dysfunctional quasi-adults.

For the Democrats, if they can’t geet control of at least the Senate (thus installing judges and preventing the Tea Party pledge of impeachment and other vengeance against Clinton, then what? Ideally, they could get control of most legislatures in the 32 states that let their local lawmakers do the Census Year redistricting. Republicans were brilliant and ruthless in gerrymandering. What is the Dem strategy?

icon for podpress  Tiny-Tent Party [24:37m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Divert Political Anger With All-Dem DC

Independents and self-described Conservatives are pissed. Number one is Congress does nothing. That’s hard to argue with but easy to fix.

Let’s consider for a moment the odious Donald Trump’s “What do you have to lose?” That’s jive from the con artist. Yet that question haunts.

If all the angry voters, or even most of them, get real on November 8th, the fix is before them. Elect a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate, and a Democratic Senate. Then watch and wonder. The obstructionism we all despise will vanish. The do-nothing Congress will become a do-it-all legislature.

Four or eight years of a healthier, richer, more righteous America await.

Each and all of us tend to love our memes and clichés, even the most irrational and unsupported ones. Beware those who orate and proclaim of their statements, “It’s only common sense.” Nearly always that means, “I got nothing here. Just don’t question or challenge me.”

I grew up hearing what I still do about U.S. civics. A recurring theme is that you need to divide government to keep it in check. At its worst, as i the past eight years, we have seen check become checkmate. The do-nothing Congress, both GOP-led houses, dragged our economic recovery, stymied expanded health care and on and on.

The “common sense” types pretend that Dems are monolithic and wildly leftists, instead of the wishy-washy moderates nearly all are. The likes of Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are two lighthouses in an unmoving sea of blah.

Electing a Dec-controlled Senate and ideally matching it was a Dem House could mean only what they right wingers and angry voters of all stripe have screamed for — a Congress that accomplishes the necessary, passes legislation and moves America forward.

Liberal/Conservative SCOTUS leanings and votes here.

One of many economists’ papers showing how much better the U.S. economy does with a Democratic POTUS. Reasons are debatable; results are not.

icon for podpress  All-Dem DC: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Mass Murder Tipping Points

About a third the way in, a caller interrupted my gun portion of the rant. He was a a registered firearms dealer, and coincidentally Black. He opposes any additional gun laws or regulations. He was of the it’s-not-the-specific-gun side. We each got out our views. I’m glad he called.

Otherwise, I asked whether the Dallas deaths of five police officers by sniper would be a tipping point. Sandy Hook, to many of our surprise, was not. Will Dallas be? Will the many deaths of young Black men this year and last be?

I hold that we need both legal and cultural shifts. Obviously to me the cultural part is much harder. Take policing. Cops are no better than other professionals at prosecuting or judging their peers’ actions. No matter how plain the audio, video and witness testimony, cops almost invariably skate away from what the rest of the world sees as murder.

Likewise, with guns, they should be tools not toys. No what politicians now term common-sense restrictions should be a problem, but they are. Will the assassination of five officers in Dallas be a tipping point for legislation?

 

icon for podpress  Tipping Points [31:00m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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No VP Warren Podcast

We’re not through with Elizabeth Warren yet in Massachusetts. You can’t have her as 2016 Vice President. She’s my U.S. Senator and is better than just fine.Elizabeth Warren

I get into why she’s effective beyond merely doing the job for us and discuss pros and cons of Hillary Clinton bringing her on the ticket. Unlike my usual cited sources, this is personal and my perceptions.

She has been doing a great job with her small stable of political and positions she rides in D.C. She largely is the conscience who shames the lackluster, plodding Senators with her dynamism and accomplishments. She was on the ground running even before she got to the Senate. She could do a great job for the next President as the leading Senator and not the disappearing lackey.

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