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      As many have heard, John Tory, the mainstream right wing candidate, won convincingly in Toronto and Olivia Chow came in third place, even doing worse than Doug Ford (brother of the famous crack-smoking Rob Ford.)  Much hand wringing has ensued that progressive just can’t win elections in Toronto. While it’s true that Toronto is hard [...]
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Monday: Break it to me gently

This morning, two extremely good looking dudes are upstairs cleaning my grout.

Wait, that didn’t sound right.

Anyway, the topic of this post is stuff we didn’t want to know about, stuff we tried to avoid seeing, but that is no longer avoidable, but we want to be let down easily.

Let’s start with this remarkable exchange that Paul Krugman had in London with some clueless austerians:

Conservatives seem to be in their own little universes where the laws of physics and supply and demand and the paradox of thrift do not apply to them.  They have beautiful theories destroyed by ugly facts.  It’s a world where new college graduates with $100K in student debt just can’t wait to start their own businesses and where unemployed chemists can start biotech companies by borrowing money from their “friends, families and fools”.

But nevermind that silly notion about how we all secretly want to become the equivalent of 18th century MBAs, Paul is trying to tell them that they were just dumped by the economy and it’s over, move on.  They want Paul to break it to them gently.  Let them down the easy way, presumably the way that doesn’t require any kind of concessions from them.  And Paul’s like, “He’s not coming back, Ok?  He doesn’t want you anymore.”  This exchange would almost be funny if it weren’t so deadly serious.  It’s very frustrating to have examined the data, run the models, found historical precedent and made accurate predictions only to have them ignored by people who are talking in non-sequitors about something completely different that works only in a different dimension.  I guess it’s going to have to take a global catastrophic failure before they get it. I don’t know what I find more disturbing about this: that there are so many disingenuous pundits out there lying to people or that these people may actually believe what they’re saying.  Is the average intelligence of the general populace really so low that people can’t reason this problem out?  That’s so frightening it makes me feel dizzy and sick.  Is there a 30 second youtube cartoon that can be put together to explain this to non-economists?

The second breakup story is from Peter Daou.  A year ago, he tried to warn the Obama administration that it needed to put more effort into courting its base but did it listen?  Daou found this article from April 2011 that suggested that the grassroots were not happy with Obama and wanted to see some effort from him before they started giving.  But the Democrats had Obama and they thought that everyone loved him because he’s so swave and de-boner so when the time came, they’d all come swooning back like they did in 2008.  Um, it turns out that isn’t happening.  In this new post from Buzzfeed Politics, we have this rather unsettling graphic that intimates that the honeymoon is over:

The dark blue dots are where Obama’s fundraising efforts have fallen off the most.  Funny how they follow state boundaries.  Isn’t it weird that this Democratic president has seen the least amount of fallout in predominantly conservative, bible thumping southern states? And JEEZ, look at the way Appalachia has been blowing him off.  But it’s not just Appalachia, California seems none too pleased, nor Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Virginia, Ohio.  In fact, it looks like all of the big states that Obama lost in the 2008 primaries are most seriously displeased.  I guess they’re trying to say that they’re just not that into him.  But the Democrats keep thinking that Obama’s the best that voters are going to get.  Sure, he’s a player, sure he’ll dump you for a Republicanesque bipartisan committee.  What are you going to do?  Voters are appearing to say that they’re not going to give him anymore money, how’s that?  They’ve been trying to let the party down the easy way for more than a year now.  But if the party isn’t listening, they might find that enough voters have left without a forwarding address that there will be a very rude awakening in November.

And then there is Wisconsin.  Bill Clinton was there a few days ago campaigning for Tom Barrett, the Democratic challenger in the recall election against Scott Walker.  Bill Clinton tried to give voters a wake up call about what this recall election means to them and the rest of working class Americans (working class is anyone not living off their bonuses and investments):

If you believe in an economy of shared prosperity when times are good, and shared sacrifice when they’re not, then you don’t want to break the unions. You want them at the negotiating table. And you trust them to know that arithmetic rules. Show up for Tom Barrett on Tuesday! If you want Wisconsin once again to be seen by all of America as a place of diversity, of difference of opinion, of vigorous debate, where in the end people’s objectives are to come to an agreement that will take us all forward together, youhave to show up for Tom Barrett on Tuesday!…

I can just hear it now, on Wednesday. All those people that poured all this money into Wisconsin, if you don’t show up and vote, will say, `see, we got them now. We’re finally going to break every union in America. We’re gonna break every government in America. We’re gonna stop worrying about the middle class. We don’t give a riff whether poor people get to work their way into it. We got our way now. We got it all. Divide and conquer works.’

You tell them no. You tell them, Wisconsin has never been about that, never will be about that — by electing Tom Barrett governor!

You can watch the whole speech here:

Clinton is not the kind of guy who likes recall elections or any attempt of one group of radicals to unseat a sitting elected official.  So, the fact that he’s out there in Wisconsin is significant because it means that he doesn’t see the working people of Wisconsin as a bunch of radicals.  This is THE most important election this year.  It is more important than the one in November, as it stands right now.  What Bill is really doing is sending a message to his own party to wake up and do something now because once the Republican juggernaut rolls over the working people of Wisconsin, it’s going to keep on rolling over everyone else.

Let me break it to you gently, lefty blogospherians, there is a battle right now within in the Democratic party.  We are seeing it play out in Wisconsin where the Democrats are pretending that they can straddle the fence.  They think that they can be for working class people in theory and still take money from big donors in practice and no one will notice when the economy fails and working people suffer.  That’s not going to happen.

Please note who is out there stumping for us.  Pay attention to what he is saying.  You need to have a vision of where you want to take the country.  You know all that shit you’ve been swallowing about how Bill Clinton wrecked the welfare system?  Think about that for a moment.  If you are one of those people who didn’t want to see the welfare system change to help people go to work and achieve and have dignity and get their families out of generational poverty, if what you really wanted was to just throw money at a problem and hope it went away, then you are a person who is afraid of change and not really aware of what a welfare check means to a person.  Do you know what we call people who like things the way they were and refuse to evolve?

Conservatives.

I am not going to break it to you gently, dear lefty progressives and liberals.  The left has failed to develop a vision of the future that acknowledges how our world has changed.  It has failed to figure out a way of elevating the working class out of the 20th century into the future with dignity, fairness, equality and excitement for what comes next.  The Democratic party fractured itself in 2008 and now it is floundering. The signs are all around that there’s a big breakup coming.  It needs to get its shit together as quickly as possible or we are all going to pay the price this November when the tons of money pouring into conservative message creating manages to aerosolize the working class and makes it impossible for any of us to join together and push back.

Kicking back at Conflucians Say

Hi all, we’re having another segment of Conflucians Say as often as we can until the convention.  Tonight, we kick things off at 10:00PM EST in order to accomodate all of you who don’t live in real time.  (Just kidding, Katiebird!)

We’re still raising funds for Denver.  If you’d like to help out, check out the contribution page at PUMAPac.  Our goal is to raise $10,000 by Sunday night in order to defray the costs of the PUMA Headquarters and Media Center in Denver.  These things don’t come cheap and let’s just say that some Denver residents became entrepreneurs over night in the real estate business.

Gary and Mawm got a great deal on a second hand RV and they’re planning to drive it to Denver.  They’re going to stop along the way and say Hi! to some of the Conflucians.  They’ve got a camera and they’re not afraid to use it.  We hope that the footage will be incorporated into The Audacity of Democracy.  But gas ain’t cheap and what do RV’s get in mileage?  Six gallons per mile or something like that?  So, if you want to help them on their big RV adventure, you can use the PayPal Donate button to send them on their merry way.

Of course, our lady, Hillary never turns down a contribution to help pay her small vendors from the primaries.  If you can spare a little more, make a contribution to her.

AND don’t forget her faithful companions in the House, Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Sheila Jackson Lee.  These two courageous women stared down their party on Hillary’s behalf.  If you have a bit more, I’m sure these two ladies would appreciate it in case Obama has rustled up primary challengers.

You can Donate to Gary and Mawm’s big adventure here:

Follow The Money!

Something doesn’t make any sense to me. Now some people might think I need to get my tinfoil hat out of the closet but over the years I’ve learned to trust the voices in my head. Well, not about the lottery, but I trust them on other stuff, and the voices are telling me that something ain’t right.

Riverdaughter and other bloggers have posted recently about Barack Obama’s money troubles. His fundraising has been dropping dramatically since last March. But I’m more interested in how he raised so much money at the beginning. Not the beginning of this year, the beginning of last year.

Let’s jump in the Wayback machine and return to January 1, 2007. Ahhh, those were such pleasant and optimistic times for Democrats. It seem like our long national nightmare would soon be over. Just two months earlier a tidal wave of new Democratic candidates had swept a bunch of GOP incumbents from office. Not a single Democratic incumbent lost a Congressional race, and along with victories in open seat contests the party had taken back control of both houses of Congress and several governorships. Soon we would have a new Speaker of the House and for the first time in our history we would hear the title “Madame Speaker” used.

Most of us were sure that we would soon be withdrawing our forces from Iraq and many of us were looking forward to impeachment hearings by that Summer. But very few of us were paying close attention to the people who were jockeying to become the Democratic Presidential nominee for the 2008 elections. Who cared? There were so many good choices, and it was obvious that it didn’t matter who we nominated, they would cruise to victory over whatever token candidate the GOP offered.

Other than political junkies, very few people care much about elections that are nearly two years away. But anyone who intends to make a serious run for the White House starts planning and preparing much earlier than that. Just getting in position to be taken seriously as a candidate usually takes a decade or more. Although the Constitutional requirements are pretty low, realistically a person needs to do a lot of things to get ready.

Dwight Eisenhower was the last President who didn’t hold any prior elective office. But the former Army general had been the Supreme Allied Commander in WWII and he had been involved in politics most of his career. Since then we have had Kennedy (HR and Senate) Johnson (Senate Majority Leader, VP, HR) Nixon (HR, Senate, VP) Ford (House Minority Leader, VP) Carter (Gov, state legislator) Reagan (Gov) G.H.W Bush (VP, HR, CIA Director, Ambassador to China & UN) Clinton (Gov, State AG) and George W. Bush (Gov).

Every person elected President in the last 50+ years was either a governor, former Vice President, or had completed at least one 6 year term in the Senate. Kennedy was the only one who was not either a governor nor a Vice President prior to becoming President, but he was a war hero and came from a politically connected family. Ford was never elected President, but he did serve briefly as Vice President.

So, a politically knowledgeable person who reviewed the list of Democratic hopefuls back in January 2007 would see some heavyweight contenders and some lightweights. There was, of course, Hillary Clinton as the supposed frontrunner. She was starting her second term in the Senate, and although she never held elective office before she became a Senator her 8 years as First Lady were the equivalent to a Cabinet position. She also had name recognition (both good and bad), fundraising ability and “family connections.” Definitely a heavyweight contender.

Then there was John Edwards. A former Senator and Vice Presidential candidate, he was well-known and popular within the party, and could self-finance his campaign through the early contests if he couldn’t raise money elsewhere (but he could raise money too) Heavyweight. Next would have to be Chris Dodd and Joe Biden. Two experienced Senators with leadership experience, name recognition, and fundraising ability. Two more Heavyweights. There was one light-heavyweight in the group, Governor Bill Richardson. He was the only Latino candidate, and prior to becoming Governor he was a Cabinet Secretary under Clinton. He did pretty good raising money too.

That completes the heavyweight division, unless you wanted to count Al Gore, who many people expected to run eventually. He had a good year in 2007, but never threw his hat in the ring. After the heavyweights there were several lightweight contenders, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich and Tom Vilsack.. Their problem wasn’t necessarily that they weren’t qualified, but rather that they lacked name recognition and fundraising ability.

Am I forgetting anyone? Oh yeah, Senator Whatshisname. This is where I get confused. Now remember, this is January 2007, and Senator Obama has been in Washington DC for only two years. Prior to that he was an unexceptional state legislator. He wrote a couple books, and gave a couple speeches, but that’s about it. He might have potential, but he hasn’t done anything yet to prove it. He ran unopposed to become a state senator, and ran virtually unopposed to become a US Senator. He didn’t pull off an upset election victory over an incumbent to reach the Senate, and the only time he was seriously challenged in an election was when he ran for Congress and he had his clock cleaned in the primary by Bobby Rush.

I can see some starry-eyed college students getting all excited about hip internet-savvy newcomer, but I simply can’t understand how anyone else could consider Barack Obama to be a serious contender back then. It makes no sense. This is a full year before the first caucuses and primaries. Check this out:

 4/14/2007

A senator for only two years, the Illinois Democrat has been cast in the early stages of the campaign as an upstart who refused money from Washington lobbyists and parlayed Internet savvy, opposition to the Iraq war and grass-roots enthusiasm into a surprising $25 million first quarter of fundraising — money that has made him a legitimate contender for the party’s nomination.

Behind the closed doors of last week’s strategy session, though, was another side to Obama’s fundraising success. Filling the room were many veterans of the Democratic financial establishment: a Hyatt hotel heiress, a New York hedge fund manager, a Hollywood movie mogul and a Chicago billionaire.

[...]

As the first-quarter finance report his campaign will file today is expected to document, Obama has managed to successfully bridge two very different political worlds. Along with thousands of first-time donors who sent $50 or $100 from their home computers, the report is to list scores of longtime political insiders who funneled stacks of $2,300 checks to Obama’s accounts.

The campaign announced earlier this month that Obama has received money from more than 100,000 people, including 50,000 Internet donors — more online donors than his chief Democratic rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), had total donors. Less well-known is the story of how he built a more traditional fundraising machine fueled, in part, by some of the biggest names in Democratic politics.

In contrast to Clinton and former North Carolina senator John Edwards, his other main Democratic rival, Obama was a late entrant in the presidential race, first raising the idea publicly last October and not deciding firmly until January.

[...]

Fundraisers in the field also worried that Obama’s initial pledge to reject money from lobbyists would slow the early hunt for donations.

“One of the quickest sources of cash was off the table, and there was some early grumbling,” said one campaign adviser, who was not authorized to talk to reporters and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The original goal for the first quarter, back in December, was cautiously set at $8 million to $10 million.

[...]

The initial enthusiasm about Obama pushed his first-quarter goal up to $15 million early in the year, and by March it had shifted again to more than $20 million.

[...]

 

From the outset, Obama tried to establish a “Washington outsider” image — moving his campaign operations to Chicago and making a bold promise to refuse checks written or gathered by registered federal lobbyists.

The campaign received $50,566 from 49 lobbyists, but aides flagged the checks during initial screening and said they will return the money. Still, for hosting events and otherwise raising money, the Obama fundraising team is relying on partners in lobbying firms who are not registered for specific clients, former lobbyists who recently dropped clients and spouses of lobbyists. The strategy allows Obama’s team to reach the wealthy clients of lobbying firms while technically complying with his pledge.

[...]

Obama also has no prohibition against using state lobbyists to raise money, even when they represent companies with business before the federal government.

[...]

Speaking to voters in New Hampshire earlier this month, as the news broke of his formidable first-quarter haul, he tried to remind them that he has “always tried to curb the influence of money in politics.”

“Listen,” he told them, “I would love not to have to raise money so I could spend all my time in town hall meetings.”

There are soooooo many things wrong about that article. If the last sentence was true, Obama wouldn’t have opted out of public financing. But the part that’s relevant here is that Senator Obama raised $25 million in the first three months of 2007, second only to Hillary Clinton. A nobody, with no resume. Two books, Two speeches, and a few appearances on Oprah. $25 million!

Lets compare that to the fundraising of the other Democrats:

John Edwards          $52 million

Bill Richardson       $23 million

Chris Dodd            $18 million

Joe Biden               $12 million

Dennis Kucinich    $4.5 million

Now if you’re thinking that Obama’s fundraising doesn’t seem that exceptional compared to Edwards, Richardson and Dodd, that’s because you’re only looking at the first quarter of 2007 for Obama. The amounts for the other five ARE FOR THE WHOLE CAMPAIGN!

Obama raised more in the first quarter than everyone but Edwards and Hillary would raise during the whole year. According to Open Secrets, these are Senator Obama’s fundraising numbers through May 2008:

2007:

Q1 $25 million

Q2 $31 million

Q3 $19 million

Q4 $24 million

2008:

Jan $37 million

Feb $57 million

Mar $43 million

Apr $32 million

May $23 million

How does a candidate with Senator Obama’s resume raise $99 million dollars before a single vote is ever cast? Hillary Clinton raised a phenomenal $230 million through May 31, 2008, but Obama did far better, raising $287 million during the same period. What’s wrong with this picture?

How could a rookie Senator raise money like a popular incumbent President running for reelection? I watched him, I’ve listened to him, and I wouldn’t give him a nickel. I can understand the donations this year after he started winning primaries and caucuses, but he raised 1/3 of his money before he ever got a single vote. (Actually, I can’t understand the other 2/3 either, not the amount of it anyway.)

Lastly, check this out:

 

Obama also has the support of industry, although some more than others. He ranks at or near the top of contributions received from the pharmaceutical industry, retirement associations, securities and investments outfits, the entertainment, banking, computer and Internet industries, education organizations, health care, law firms and investment industry.

If you’re looking for answers, I don’t have them. Riverdaughter suggested that the GOP may have been behind Obama’s fundraising. That would certainly explain the sudden drop in receipts. Joseph Cannon thinks the Chicago Machine was the source of money, and that the Rezko prosecution put an end to the funds. Both of them may be partially correct.

 

(Cross-posted at Klownhaus)

The Buzzing Boyz are Sometimes Girlz. Beware.

Uppity Woman called this, “Cavuto Hands Desperate Obama Adolescent Her Head On A Plate

[UPDATED] See below the fold . . . .

Hang on Hillary, Hillary hang on! Tomorrow’s Money Friday: We’re ready to help.

Friday Fast: Save your breakfast, lunch and dinner money tomorrow and send it to Hillary. The Big Boyz have been very effective in discouraging people from donating and volunteering for her. If you send in $10 on Friday and everyone reading this does the same, we can help refill her coffers. Also, one day of fasting will give you presence of mind and remind you of what is so important here. There are millions of Americans who are one paycheck away from insolvency, who have to use a food pantry every month to feed their families and these people are going to get written off by the “new coalition”.

Continue reading

If wishing won elections

Reclusive Leftist wonders why Obama is still the front-runner after his humiliating defeat in Pennsylvania last Tuesday:

It was thus that I learned about the realpolitik of nominating contests. A lot has changed in the process since 1968, and all to the good. More actual voting, fewer smoke-filled rooms. But what hasn’t changed is the purpose of the whole thing: to settle on the candidate with the best chance to win in the general election.

If I had a time machine and could go back to 1968 or 1972 to chew over a thought experiment with one of those old pros, the conversation might go like this: Continue reading

Hey! We broke 100,000 hits today!

Amazing! When I found myself on this little deserted island back in January, I thought I would have to buy a basketball if I ever wanted to talk to anyone again. But before I knew it, ronkseattle started dropping by, then litigatormom, gqmarinez, MABlue, Katiebird, Tucsonlynn, Shainzona and many, many others. Thanks for your patience, guys while I figured out what this blogging thing is all about. It’s been great.

Now, on to something else. As you probably know, campaigning is very expensive. Hillary probably has a ton of cash socked away for the general. But even Obama must be running low on primary funds since he spends money like water in the states where he loses primaries.

AAAANNYway, if you have a few Andrew Jackson’s sitting around not doing any useful work, why not send them Hillary’s way? Even as little as $10.00 can be very productive when combined with thousands of others. If you can give more, please do so. Every little bit helps. I’m sure she will appreciate it. And when we win PA, you’ll know you were part of making history.

Here’s where to contribute. Click this link…

here

Hillary Breaks Down the “Fourth Wall” and Reaps Big Rewards

grassrootsTaylor Marsh and others report that Mark Penn and Terry McAuliffe are stunned by the gestures of support that the Clinton campaign has received over the past couple of days with the $7M in donations. Actually, I think we can do better than that. I could definitely donate a little more but what’s the point of doing it all in one shot? It’s more fun this way to see what a little filthy lucre does. It’s like immediate feedback. Then I want to send more the next time. Instant gratification. It’s about as close to a gambling addiction as I’m ever likely to get.

But where was I? Oh, yeah! The genuine surprise of the Clinton guys. First, I’d like to get this out of the way: I’m not too terribly fond of political consultants, but unlike the Big Blog Stores, I’m not singling the Clinton guys out for special antipathy. I think David Axelrod is especially loathesome with his ratlike profile and cheesy mustache. And future serious candidates should be advised to stay well away from twice-a-failure, Joe Trippi. So, Mark and Terry should not get it into their heads that we’re doing anything for them.

No, this was all for Hillary. I mean, damn!, she’s put up with a lot of $#%@ this election season and I swear she’s just getting better all of the time. She is starting to blossom into a really good campaigner. Besides that, she’s the best qualified and it shows whenever she and Obama stand next to each other and they open their mouths. So, why wouldn’t we want her to “pick herself up, dust herself off, start all over again”?

I’ve always been a little annoyed by the top down, centralized, scripted, careful, take-no-chances behavior of the Clinton campaign. It was insular, too professional, antisceptic. But once the battle was joined and they started having moments of crisis where they realized that throwing money at the problem wasn’t going to fix things, something remarkable happened. She started to drop her guard and what we started to see was not the polished politician but a smart, dedicated, warm, humorous, feisty human being who wasn’t going to give up without a fight.

In theatre terms, she broke down the “fourth wall”. Why it comes as any surprise that we would want to help her out now that we see who we’re fighting for is a mystery to me. It must be hard to trust us after all of the years of vitriolic attacks from the right and recently from her own party. But there are more of us supporters than she knew and we, her grassroots, have just been waiting for this opportunity. All she had to do was put her faith in us like we’ve put ours in her and ask for audience participation.

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