The best government that money can buy

Your democracy


This makes me ill:

TEAM OBAMA BEGINS PLANNING $1 BILLION REELECTION CAMPAIGN

“Bracing for a half-billion-dollar onslaught of outside GOP cash in 2012, President Obama’s advisers are quietly working to bring back together the major donor base that produced a record-breaking fundraising haul in his first run for president. In the past few months, Democratic National Committee aides have contacted several of Obama’s earliest financial backers to brainstorm about when and where to host the first money-raising events. Several big donors said they expect the Obama 2012 operation to open its doors this spring, with a string of fundraisers to generate the early cash needed to rebuild the president’s high-tech campaign operation. … ‘They are getting organized in Chicago to start a massive two-year campaign, which I believe will be successful, but has extraordinarily large challenges in some of the major states,’ said Philadelphia philanthropist Peter Buttenweiser, who hosted one of the first Obama presidential fundraisers in 2007 and is in talks to organize an early one for the re-election. …

“Obama was scheduled to go to New York this week to meet with about 25 large bundlers and supporters … but that event was canceled after the Tucson shootings … The one piece of Obama’s fundraising apparatus that has been managed closely since his inauguration is his online, small donor base. … But a billion dollar presidential re-election bid is unlikely to be launched or sustained for long exclusively with small donors. Even in 2008, Obama’s eye-popping online giving was matched with larger donations generated by roughly 700 big and small bundlers. Rebuilding that half of his financial operation is critical to his prospects and talk of it dates back to before the midterms when the president hosted a string of late summer DNC fundraisers. Attached to each of those large events was a smaller gathering where Obama had private time with his biggest bundlers and talk inevitably turned to 2012.”

One billion dollars. That’s almost $4 from every man, woman and child in the country.

But he’s not gonna get that money from a bunch of college kids sending him their beer money like he supposedly did last time. In fact, last time he got most of his money from Wall Street, BP, health insurance company execs, energy company execs, and all the other Joe Moneybags special interests.

ONE BILLION DOLLARS

How much time will Barack Obama be spending at fundraisers during the next two years? What will his donors expect for their investment? What promises will he be making?

How will he spend that money anyway? It’s not like he needs to pay for advertising because nobody knows who he is. Will we see more paid bloggers and summer camps for the Obama Youth?

Below is a screencap from Memorandum. Why aren’t all the lefty bloggers covering this story? I thought campaign finance reform was a big priority in Left Blogistan? I guess that died in 2008 when Obama broke his promise on campaign financing.



BTW – Didja notice the smooth opening? “It’s the Republicans fault!


Answer: They stand for nothing



Byron York
:

What’s wrong with Democrats? Sure, they got their butts kicked on Nov. 2, but they still control the Senate and the White House, and they remain in charge of the vast bureaucracy of the executive branch. So why do they seem so lost?

“We’re uniting,” one key House Republican said recently, “and they’re disintegrating.”

The lawmaker was marveling at the Democrats’ inability to come up with a coherent position on the Bush tax cuts. The party has hated “tax cuts for the rich” for nearly a decade, but now that those cuts are sunsetting, they can’t decide what to do. Some Democrats want to stand firm against extending cuts for high-income taxpayers, while others agree with Republicans that the Bush rates should be extended for everybody, even the “rich,” if only for a few years. Democratic legislators can’t even come together on an alternative proposal to extend all the cuts except for people who earn more than $1 million a year.

Think about it: If today’s Democrats don’t stand for raising taxes on millionaires, then what do they stand for?

(See answer above)

Here’s a couple giggles:

For some in the Democratic base, the party’s current confusion is the last straw. Imagine if you had said this to a lefty activist back in those happy days of January 2009: “By the end of 2010, President Obama will have escalated the war in Afghanistan, there will be 50,000 American troops in Iraq, Guantanamo will remain open, some of the most controversial aspects of the Bush war on terror will still be in effect, there will be no grand climate legislation, no comprehensive immigration reform, no second round of stimulus, and oh, by the way — they’re going to extend Bush’s tax cuts for the rich.”

It’s no wonder true believers have sunk into a funk. “I hope President Obama, who’s intensely intelligent, understands that he needs to … stand tall, stand hard, stand tough,” the Nation’s editor Katrina vanden Heuvel said recently. “It about morality, principle, good policy, good politics to stand tall on these Bush tax cuts.”

Everybody, 1-2-3:

“WE TOLD YOU SO!”

Seriously, what the hell does Barack Obama know about “about morality, principle, good policy, (and) good politics?”

Here’s a clue – The Democrats will extend the Bush Tax Cuts on the Wealthy because THAT’S WHAT THEY WANT TO DO.

Fuck you and your unemployment insurance. You poor people don’t have any money to donate to their campaigns anyway.



Funky Friday Fugue State


Matt Yglesias thinks we need a Reality Check:

Something I find incredibly puzzling is the strange determination many progressive have to diagnose what the “problem” is with Democrats that makes them so “bad” at electoral politics. They actually seem to me to be fine. Look at the 30 year span from 1980 to 2010. The Democratic candidate won the popular vote in 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2008 (4 times) whereas the Republican candidate won in 1980, 1984, 1988, and 2004. It’s true that in the real world the poor ballot design in Palm Beach County, the Supreme Court, and the Electoral College put George W Bush in the White House but none of that is the fault of Democratic Party messaging tactics.

Democrats controlled the House for 18 out of those 30 years, and controlled the Senate for 14 out of 30 years. In the new year, they’ll control two out of the three branches of government. None of that sounds to me like a political party that’s having trouble persuading people to vote for it.

Check it out, Bill Clinton is a Democrat again! Okay, to be fair I’ve never seen MattY accuse the Big Dawg of being a DINOcrat Republican but plenty of his Creative Class pals do it all the time. I wish they would be consistent with their memes.

MattY’s numbers are kinda tricky though, since Bill won in 1992 and 1996 with pluralities and Gore “lost” electorally in 2000 with a popular vote majority thanks to Jeb Bush and 5 SCOTUS (in)justices. His definition of “winning” is fairly narrow, confining it to the outcome of elections and not having anything to do with accomplishments in terms of policy and legislation.

Kevin Drum:

True! But here’s another lens to look through, one that I’ve mentioned before. It’s liberal-centric rather than Democrat-centric.

Over the past century, American liberalism has mostly progressed in three very short, sharp spurts.

[...]

But the last one of these spurts ended 40 years ago, and the Obama Era, such as it was, lasted a mere 18 months. That’s despite the fact that Democrats had big majorities in both the House and Senate, George Bush had seemingly degraded the Republican brand almost beyond salvaging, and conservative policies had produced an epic financial collapse that should have provided a tremendous tailwind for substantial progressive reform. And yet: 18 months. That was it.

So yes: Democrats have done OK over the past few decades. And it’s fair to say that conservatism has made only modest strides during that period. Triumphalist right-wing rhetoric to the contrary, America obviously doesn’t have any burning desire to turn back the clock to the 1950s. But actual, substantial liberal progress? We haven’t seen so much of that, and after 18 months of modest achievements we’re obviously not going to get any more for quite a while.

So what happened?

Awww, so close but no cigar.

Does Kevin really not know what happened or is he just not allowed to say it? At least he isn’t trying to convince us that Obama had the most awesomest first two years of any POTUS ever.


You-know-who did another Facebook fireside chat in response to the latest ginned-up PDS fauxrage:

A Thanksgiving Message to All 57 States

My fellow Americans in all 57 states, the time has changed for come. With our country founded more than 20 centuries ago, we have much to celebrate – from the FBI’s 100 days to the reforms that bring greater inefficiencies to our health care system. We know that countries like Europe are willing to stand with us in our fight to halt the rise of privacy, and Israel is a strong friend of Israel’s. And let’s face it, everybody knows that it makes no sense that you send a kid to the emergency room for a treatable illness like asthma and they end up taking up a hospital bed. It costs, when, if you, they just gave, you gave them treatment early, and they got some treatment, and ah, a breathalyzer, or an inhalator. I mean, not a breathalyzer, ah, I don’t know what the term is in Austrian for that…

Of course, the paragraph above is based on a series of misstatements and verbal gaffes made by Barack Obama (I didn’t have enough time to do one for Joe Biden). YouTube links are provided just in case you doubt the accuracy of these all too human slips-of-the-tongue. If you can’t remember hearing about them, that’s because for the most part the media didn’t consider them newsworthy. I have no complaint about that. Everybody makes the occasional verbal gaffe – even news anchors.


That’s it for now, yesterday was a quiet news day but I’m sure there will be more stuff to talk about later so keep checking back.

My big project for today is putting up my Festivus lights outside. What will you be doing?

Have a great Friday!

ONLY 27 MORE SHOPPING DAYS LEFT UNTIL FESTIVUS!




An unusually busy lame-duck session

Somebody is getting screwed here


Politico:

A repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell?” Don’t bet on it.

The window for action on reversing the ban on gays in the military is quickly closing, and the path to undoing the 17-year-old law is riddled with roadblocks: a crowded lame-duck calendar, Democratic defectors, and emboldened Republican senators who have no desire to hand a legislative victory to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

If Democrats fail to pass the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” next month — before Republicans take control of the House in January — it could be years before they get another shot.

“Unless Democrats completely neglect the tax-hike issue and everything else they’ve been talking about lately, like the DREAM Act, the START treaty and controversial nominees, they won’t be able to finish it,” said one senior Senate GOP aide.

The repeal of “don’t ask” has been attached to the defense authorization bill, and Senate Republicans have already blocked the bill once before over this issue.

DADT, the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors), the START treaty, the Paycheck Fairness act, retroactive immunity for mortgage fraud, the extension of Bush tax cuts for the rich and the Catfood Commission report are all on the table of the 111th Congress.

This Congress has been in session for almost two years and several of the items before them have been languishing the entire time. START has been waiting a Senate vote since last Spring and the only thing of recent development is the discovery of massive mortgage fraud.

So why with less than two months left to go are all these items suddenly urgent?

I can’t recall any prior lame-duck session with such a full agenda of important legislation. Some of these items might have helped the Democrats energize their base for the election earlier this month. Yeah, those bills might have helped some GOPers too, but it wasn’t like the Democrats were expecting to gain seats on November 2nd.

If they couldn’t pass them before, what makes them think they can pass them now?

Maybe it’s just my Reynold’s Wrap beanie, but I get the feeling the Democrats aren’t being fully honest with us. Either that or they’re not playing with a full deck.




She’s baaack!


Nancy Pelosi survives Democratic revolt

Bruised but not beaten, Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday locked up the votes needed to transition from speaker to minority leader in the new Congress, topping Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), 150-43, on a secret ballot in a private Wednesday meeting of House Democrats.

The 43 votes against her — and the 68 cast in a losing effort to delay her election — reveal that a caucus bloodied by the loss of at least 61 seats and control of the House no longer bends to her will the way it once did.

But Pelosi was defiant as ever in her post-election press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Asked why she should remain Democratic leader after the election wipeout, Pelosi said: “Because I’m an effective leader, because we got the job done on health care and Wall Street reform and consumer protection. Because they know that I’m the person that can attract the resources both intellectual and otherwise to take us to victory — because I’ve done it before.”

Since it’s that time of year I’ll use a football analogy. If any NFL coach led his team to such a disastrous season as the Democrats just had he would be fired even if the team owner had to eat a multi-million dollar contract.

Nobody is cheering this news harder than the Republican party. That alone tells you all you need to know.

Nancy Pelousy lost my support four years ago when she said “Impeachment is off the table.” I won’t even go into her involvement with what went wrong in 2008.

So after the worst mid-term beating in modern history Obama is still in the White House, Dirty Harry Reid is still Senate Majority Leader, and Nancy Pelosi is demoted but still has a job. No personnel changes, no new blood in the Democratic leadership, no change of direction.

The Democratic party must have a death wish.



Charlie Rangel walks out of ethics hearing


Politico:

Complaining bitterly that he was denied the right to have an attorney present, an emotional Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) walked out of his highly publicized public ethics trial Monday morning, an unexpected twist in the ethics inquiry has tarnished Rangel’s four-decade congressional career.

The ethics panel, after an unexpected 40-minute private session, rejected Rangel’s request to delay the trial and went ahead anyway. The witness chair where Rangel was supposed to sit was empty, a dramatic sign of Rangel’s refusal to participate.

With Rangel gone – foregoing the 10 hours he was granted to defend himself – the committee moved very quickly through the case and spent just 80 minutes reviewing the allegations before retiring to decide whether it would approve a “motion for summary judgment.”

If that motion is approved the Rangel trial is esentially over, just several hours after beginning.

But it hasn’t been without fireworks. Rangel asked for more time to get a lawyer and then walked out. His request was later denied.

“The committee has decided not to continue this matter,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who is overseeing the trial, said in turning down Rangel’s demand for more time.

“We recognize that Mr. Rangel does not intend to participate. It is his right not to participate.”

Maybe it’s just me but something stinks here, and it’s not the Representative from Harlem.

What’s the urgency? Rangel was just reelected, and if he’s not afraid of the incoming GOP majority then why should the Ethics Committee care?

The worst thing that they can do to him (now or later) is expulsion. The outgoing and incoming Governors of New York are both Democrats, and Rangel’s seat won’t be going to a Republican if there is a special election.

Are they worried that a GOP-led Ethics Committee won’t be harsh enough?




And we get?


Anglachel discusses the Catfood Commission’s “disingenuous calls for sacrifice.”

The general criticism of the class bias in how the commission weighted the sacrifices (most for the little people, few for the monied elite) has been done by other commenters, so I’d like to focus on the last, rather amazing sentence in the above quote. The work of the New Deal is delivering value and providing economic security almost a century after it was done. It is an investment that continues to pay out.

Consider that at least 30 of those 80 years have occurred while a political party explicitly opposed to the New Deal has been in power, and that it has been under fire from that same faction since the early 1960s, more than half its life. We’re talking some institutional resilience. When a program provides material benefits to large portions of the population with little overhead and minimal intrusiveness, it’s going to be a winner. This is deep strength of Social Security and Medicare – they deliver. [There's also the incredible infrastructure investments of the WPA that continue to deliver, but those are less easy to identify as a personal benefit.]

This is why the attacks on them have failed thus far. Main Street can see the benefit these programs deliver. Main Street in this case is not just families, but also small business. Cost efficiencies for business is also a reason why these programs persist. How many small business owners can provide a retiree pension or medical insurance system with the cost efficiency as SS and Medicare, for example? People also see that these New Deal programs are about the only thing still delivering to them in the face of 35 years of continual and deliberate economic degradation


Continue reading

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda II – The Iceman Cometh


I think other brother Darrell Issa (pronounced “ice-uh”) must have read my post about using Congressional oversight power:

California Rep. Darrell Issa is already eyeing a massive expansion of oversight for next year, including hundreds of hearings; creating new subcommittees; and launching fresh investigations into the bank bailout, the stimulus and, potentially, health care reform.

Issa told POLITICO in an interview that he wants each of his seven subcommittees to hold “one or two hearings each week.”

“I want seven hearings a week times 40 weeks,” Issa said.

Issa is also targeting some ambitious up-and-comers like Reps. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, Patrick McHenry of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio — all aggressive partisans — to chair some of his subcommittees.

He also wants to organize aggressive oversight beyond his committee and plans to refer inquiries to other House panels, drawing even more incoming GOP chairmen to the cause of investigating the executive branch.

I’m sure that Obama and the Democrats have nothing to worry about, right?

It’s just too bad Dirty Harry and Nancy Pelousy didn’t think of it first. I guess they didn’t want to upset David Broder and their financial backers on Wall Street.

Nobody saw this coming.

F**king f**ksticks.




Monday Morning: He’s Baa-aaccccckkkk

Keith Olbermann has returned from exile at MSNBC:

Liberal groups had taken on Olbermann’s suspension as a cause. An online petition calling for his reinstatement, run by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, had exceeded 300,000 signatures Sunday, and Michael Moore had tweeted his support. The committee’s Adam Green said Griffin was repeatedly e-mailed updates on the petition drives.

“Progressives proved that when one of our own are targeted, we will have their backs,” he said.

That’s right. Why fight for REAL Health Care Reform or hold some kind of rally for the unemployed when you can fight to get a screaming moron back on the air?

Oh well. Moving on! Representative Eric Cantor refuses to take another Government shut down or a default on the National Debt off the table.

In an interview with Fox News Sunday this morning, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), the #2 Republican in the House, threatened to take the nation’s economy hostage if President Obama does not comply with House GOPers’ as yet undefined demands. When asked if he would take a government shutdown on forcing the United States to default on its debt off the table, Cantor responded that it would somehow be President Obama’s fault if House Republicans press this agenda:

QUESTION: Are you willing to say right now we’re not going to let the country go into default, and we won’t allow a government shutdown?

CANTOR:  Chris, look at this now.  The chief executive, the president, is as responsible as any in terms of running this government. The president has a responsibility, as much or more so than Congress, to make sure that we are continuing to function in a way that the people want.

Wow. Do these imbeciles ever learn? Never mind the fact that the public sector is almost the only place where people actually have jobs now, Obama is ALL READY saying he will compromise on extending the Bush Tax cuts. I wouldn’t worry, folks. No way is Bam going to have the cojones to let it come to a showdown between him and the House GOP. He might actually have to stand on his principles if that happens, and he has none. Even if it’s true that the GOP won’t accept compromise now, he will cave.

Cantor elaborates on The Hill about what message electing Nancy as House Minority Leader would send to Americans:

“I mean, the voters outright rejected the agenda that she’s been about. And here they’re going to put her back in charge,” Cantor, in line to become the House majority leader in the next Congress, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“I mean this is the woman who really, I think, puts ideology first, and there have been no results for the American people,” he said. “And that seems the direction they want to take again. It just doesn’t make sense.”

She hardly puts her ideology first. This is a gal who claims to be pro choice and then passed HCR on our uteruses to please her backers in the Insurance Industry. Maybe if she had stuck to her scary socialist ideology more women would have showed up at the polls when she and Harry needed them.

And the  party doesn’t stop there. At least not the Tea party. The GOP also promises to “roll back” HCR.

Republicans, who will control the House starting in January but will remain in the minority in the Senate, acknowledge that they do not have the votes for their ultimate goal of repealing the health law, the most polarizing of Mr. Obama’s signature initiatives.

But they said they hoped to use the power of the purse to challenge main elements of the law, forcing Democrats — especially those in the Senate who will be up for re-election in 2012 — into a series of votes to defend it.

How’s that “New Coalition” working out for ya?

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda


There are a lot of low-information Creative Class Opolgists out there offering rationalizations why the Republicans drank the Democrats’ milkshakes last Tuesday. Here at TC and at blogs like Corrente, Alegre’s Corner, Ian Welsh and Anglachel’s Journal (among many others) there are numerous posts explaining why the Opologists are full of shit.

 

This isn’t one of those posts. Nor is this a post about how in 2008 the Democratic leadership betrayed their base (with the help of the Creative Class) in order to put an DINOcratic empty suit in the White House.

Rather than focus on what the Democrats did wrong, I want to look at what they could have done instead.

Let’s join Sherman and Mr. Peabody in the Wayback machine and travel back to November 8, 2006.

An electoral tidal wave had just swept through Congress, returning both the House and the Senate to the Democrats. Harry Reid was expected to become the Senate Majority Leader and Nancy Pelosi was going to become the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives. George W. Bush still sits in the Oval Office, however, and will stay there for two more years.

If you were advising Harry and Nancy, what would you tell them?

The first thing I would tell them is to understand why they won. They didn’t win because of the stategeries of Howard Dean or Rahm Emanuel, nor was it because of the Netroots. The Democrats won in 2006 mainly because the voters were fed up with George Bush and the Republicans.

Reasons for the Democratic party takeover include the decline of the public image of George W. Bush, the dissatisfaction of the handling of both Hurricane Katrina and the War in Iraq, Bush’s legislative defeat regarding Social Security Reform, and the culture of corruption, which were the series of scandals in 2006 involving Republican politicians.

Anybody who have ever raised a puppy knows that if you want to housebreak them then when they crap on the rug you rub their nose in it and then swat their butt while telling them “NO! Bad dog!

If you declare “Impeachment is off the table” then you better be prepared to clean your rug a lot.

What the Democrats should have done was exercise their Congressional oversight power:

Congressional oversight refers to oversight by the United States Congress of the Executive Branch, including the numerous U.S. federal agencies. Congressional oversight refers to the review, monitoring, and supervision of federal agencies, programs, activities, and policy implementation.[1] Congress exercises this power largely through its congressional committee system. However, oversight, which dates to the earliest days of the Republic, also occurs in a wide variety of congressional activities and contexts. These include authorization, appropriations, investigative, and legislative hearings by standing committees; specialized investigations by select committees; and reviews and studies by congressional support agencies and staff.

Congress’s oversight authority derives from its “implied” powers in the Constitution, public laws, and House and Senate rules. It is an integral part of the American system of checks and balances.

They would use it, but not nearly enough:


 


Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 414 other followers