Archive for National

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?

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Donnie Points and Whimpers

For consistency, note that I called out GOP would-be POTUS Donald trump as a mommy’s boy in June. He’s still at it.

Granted, Sen. Elizabeth Warren politically popularized “the sysetm is rigged” several years ago. Then realizing her weakness with progressive sorts in her campaign against Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton wore the RIGGED button figuratively at speeches.

Now the delicious irony is amoral Dem turned pseudo-Republican Trump overuses the term to tedium. The election is rigged. mass media and pols, even GOP officials, conspire against him in a fixed election.

Another bit of humor is that Sanders a tiny bit, and both the Clintons and Warren and her hubby Bruce have done very well financially. They don’t rob from ordinary folk, but they can’t claim to be even anywhere in the middle-class.

The key difference here is that Trump’s claims:

  • Are strictly about himself and not the commonweal
  • His are without evidence and patently false

Let’s discuss whether he has any case at all.I love that Okie Warren’s word repeatably comes from the fake donkey’s mouth.

Let’s also touch on how the pathetic 35% to 45% who’d torch democracy for anti-woman, anti-lefty emotional voting will deal with the now-destined defeat. Some threaten rebellion, even assassination. The rotting husk of the Republican party chooses lizard-brain reactions right now. Can they come to democracy and the commonweal?

icon for podpress  Rigged [18:38m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Smell No Scat, Trump Believers

Sure, we can find it easy to disdain Donald Trump. He is often obnoxious and antisocial. He lies incessantly and cheats non-stop. He claims to be a great businessman, but leaves a wide wake of bankruptcies and other failures, “winning” only because of sneaky contracts that guarantee him income when partners and suppliers eat the losses.

Yet, and  a huge yet, maybe 40% or more of Americans who say they’ll vote in November are willing to go for him. While 40% to 49% for the candidate of one of the two major parties is common, Trump’s case is odd. The stench that should surround him with his history does not for his fans, who seem neither to see nor smell the scat.

Rereading a sociological classic, the main reason for that popped out. Eric Hoffer described Trump followers accurately and in detail in The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements. I looked up from the book to catch coverage of the Republican convention. The speakers and audience were dominated with irrational, emotional, even rabid chants and exclamations to jail or hang Hillary Clinton. The extra-judicial, even lynch mob fervor was it.

I talk a bit of how Trump transcended candidacy with mass movement. His people to a large extent are as Hoffer had it willing to subsume their thoughts and lives to a larger collective. They feel they are not in control of their lives and are convinced the existing power structure won’t fix that.

icon for podpress  Smell No Scat [15:59m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Kill the Filibuster Podcast

We can hardly wait for the new Congress, specifically the more liberal and sensible Senate with several new Progressive Dems. In particular, MA’s Elizabeth Warren, WI’s Tammy Baldwin (both Dem) and ME’s Angus King (an independent who’ll caucus Dem) don’t want a stagnant body dragged along by the House. Warren and King have already said they are gunning to reform the filibuster.

Listen in as we bring in a little background and get excited about the possibilities for moving both bills and appointments along.

We figure GOP Senators are chastened by the last election. We also figure that if they actually have to stand and talk, not just threaten to do so, they will be shamed at their reasoning and motivation. This would be, in Martha Stewart speak, a good thing.

icon for podpress  Kill or Maim the Filibuster [30:16m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Goosing the Lame Duck Podcast

Still stunned Republicans in Congress must also be hearing their leaders bluster about how the POTUS and his Dems had better do whatever they say. Huh?

We kicked around what was possible in this lame-duck Congress and short-term 2013. Listen in below as we hit the fiscal cliff (totally manufactured brinkmanship), immigration reform (and GOP efforts to get just a little Latino voter love), and more. The fiscal slope is a better term and Congress has months to concoct a fix, although House Republicans could stop this foolishness immediately by passing the Senate-approved bill extending middle-class tax cuts.

We think aloud about the kind of blame the right will take if they fool around too much, too long and too obviously.

We ended up comparing MA Dems’ rethinking after the Sen. Scott Brown victory three years ago and our amazement that the national Republicans can not thrown themselves into the kind of restructuring that served Dems so well here.

icon for podpress  Goosing the Lame Duck [30:41m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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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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Election 2012 Showdown Podcast

Double guests, double insights today. Mat Helman of ProgressMass and Jason Stephany of MassUniting joined us to talk the races for POTUS and US Senate from MA.

There’s no secret that all four of us favor Elizabeth Warren over Scott Brown and Barack Obama over Mitt Romney. Helman and Stephany got down into details about why their and their organizations were working for them.

As background, you might also check out ProgressMass’ PDF file on Brown’s rhetoric v. record here.

Listen in as Stephany rips into the myth of Brown’s alleged independence and bipartisanship. Helman goes into depth about how Brown gets away with portraying himself as the concerned middle-of-the-road guy while voting for winger agenda on every important issue. It’s a PR primer.

We deal a bit with Brown running from a fourth and final debate and the effects of Hurricane Sandy on next week’s vote. Click below to listen.

icon for podpress  Election 2012 Showdown [33:54m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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View a Week Out

Maybe Mitt Romney could use another four years to prep, but everyone else seems ready for the elections to be done. We bring in two guests to talk to the races for POTUS and the US Senate from MA. Mat Helman from ProgressMass and Jason Stephany of MassUniting give us their views — and predictions — on both. We remain flabergasted that either race could be at all close, but they sure as heck seem to be.

If you can join us live, click here Tuesday, 10/30, at 2:30 PM Eastern. Afterward the show will be available at that URL, back here at Left Ahead, and on our iTunes page.

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Debates Week Podcast

Solo punditry today as Mike went on about the U.S. Senate and POTUS debates in the past week. He offered maybe all too obvious suggestions for the Dem candidates.

Elizabeth Warren, challenger to Sen. Scott Warren, held her own in Lowell, but Barack Obama seemed to doze through his Denver show with Mitt Romney. Mike was up at UMASS/Lowell and offered his color commentary.

The short of it that Warren must press Brown on his awful votes. He’s evaded two years of them that are against the interests of MA residents and of all women. He hides behind claiming without any evidence that she got special advancement privileges in hiring, tenure and more by noting her putative Native American fractional heritage. That’s been a smoke screen to avoid his performance. Warren simply has to insist that he cut the crap.

Likewise, the POTUS did not call Romney on one huge honking lie after another. On the campaign trail afterward, the POTUS has hit on these. He simply needs to bring that face to face in the next two goes.

Click below for a one-man rant.

icon for podpress  Debates Week [24:58m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Podium and Public Ed Shows

Our next two LA shows are set. Next Tuesday, 10/9, the usual suspects chat up the second Warren/Brown Senate and the first Obama/Romney debate-like-events. The following week, 10/16, a brash proposal from on high might revamp the Boston Public Schools.

If you can catch Ryan and Mike live pontificating on the kinda debates, go here at 2:30 PM Eastern on Oct. 9th. We’ll consider call-ins at 718-664-6966. Make nice if you want to join in on this.

The following week, John Connolly, who chairs Boston City Council’s Committee on Education, joins us. He’s driving toward a breathtaking overhaul of BPS. If you want to hear that live, go here at 2:30 PM Eastern on Oct. 16th.

Each show is available on demand afterward of hear in a player or download. Go to that show’s URL, come back here to Left Ahead, or go to our iTunes page.

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