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Primaries Matter

Discuss.

Update on the debt ceiling debacle:  The cloture vote failed in the Senate.  Harry Reid has let everyone go until later this afternoon.

So, to recap, the “compromise bill” was about as ugly as it could be, Republicans got just about everything they wanted including all cuts and no revenue increases and a SuperCongress committee (to which no one we know belongs) to make future cuts to things like entitlements and mortgage interest deductions, and it *still* wasn’t good enough.

This is a coup, plain and simple.

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Are the Republicans staging a coup?

Confederates attack Fort Sumter.

I know that sounds crazy but hear me out.

It’s obvious now that they are trying to force Democrats to vote against their most cherished programs.  Social Security is the jewel in the crown of government programs.  And Medicare is indispensable to millions of seniors.  Then there are Pell grants, foreign aid to countries struggling against their dictators, childhood nutrition programs, public education, the *post office*, forgawdssakes. The Republicans are asking for $4 trillion dollars in cuts and conceding nothing in increased revenue.  Not only that, if the Democrats sign off on any of it, they are condemning the country to severe misery because our economy is not strong enough to withstand less money to people who need it.  If you’ve got no money to spend, you can’t pay taxes or put other people to work.  It’s a vicious cycle.

And Obama was prepared to give Republicans everything they asked for.  I think it is clear to Obama voters that he is a disaster.  Let this be a lesson to the Democratic leadership.  You can’t gift self-esteem.  It must be earned through trial and error and hard work.  Obama was not ready to be a president and giving him the presidency wasn’t going to make him one any faster.  It’s probably also a dumb idea to give the guy a Nobel Prize for the same reason.  Accomplishing peace when your predecessors went out of their way to tie countries up in knots is very, very difficult work.  It’s a good thing Obama has Hillary because he isn’t qualified to be Secretary of State.  I mean, think about that.  Would Obama really make a good Secretary of State?  This is the guy who said he would meet with Ahmedinejad without preconditions.  Ok, I digress.

Anyway, the Republicans are pushing this to the limit.  They’re either going to get the Democrats to condemn themselves when they vote on austerity that causes devastation to millions of American families (that way, Democrats get the blame in 2012) or they’re going to force Obama to invoke the 14th amendment and order the Treasury to raise the debt ceiling without Congressional approval.  If Obama had done it when the talks broke down a week ago, maybe we wouldn’t be having this showdown.  He could always say it was temporary until Congress got its act together.  But now that Congress has made such a fiasco of the budget debate, it will be very difficult for Obama to raise the debt ceiling without the ratings agencies downgrading our creditworthiness.  Actually, they don’t have to do this.  They’re just threatening.

But what if getting Obama to invoke the 14th is Republican plan B?  We assume that Obama can just do it and the courts will determine at some future date whether he was correct to do it or not.  If everything works out OK, then it simply looks like a matter of it being better to ask forgiveness than permission.  But we forget that the Republicans have 5 solid votes on the Surpreme Court on their side.  Oh sure, Kennedy is *supposed* to swing like a pendulum do but in actuality, he doesn’t.  He’s as much a movement conservative federalist as the other four.  So, what if the court is already set up to say “NO!”.  What then?  Is it an impeachable offense?  While I don’t think the House or the Senate have the votes to impeach, they can do a lot of damage in the interim, tying up  legislation for months. Could they force him to resign?  Bill Clinton was under pressure to do so over a little nothing affair but Clinton was a good president with a savvy political nature.  Barack Obama, um, isn’t.

Is this effectively a coup? Is it domestic terrorism?  Should the world demand that the Republican leadership pay some kind of price for the precarious position it is putting the worlds’ economies through?  Is it international terrorism as well?  And when if demonstrations start, who does the Army support?

By the way, did anyone notice that the South Carolina Republican delegation all voted against Boehner’s bill tonight?  It was South Carolina that seceded first from the union in 1860 and it was confederate South Carolina who fired the first shots at Fort Sumter in April of 1861.  Are we watching a grudge that will not die?  That’s all we need, a bunch of religiously zealous legacy secessionists with a score to settle because Obama sure isn’t Lincoln.

And for all you Obama voters out there, do you get it now?  Do you regret voting for him in the primary now that you see what he is (ie, not ready for the big leagues)?  Would Hillary have been worse?  Really??

Pass the debt ceiling without conditions

So, I hear that Obama wants us to ‘Tweet!’ to our Congress and tell them to compromise.

Screw that.  Have you seen the latest details on the sputtering economy?  GDP was something like 1.3% in the last quarter.  That’s atrocious.  And don’t think that Americans don’t notice.  They knew long before the stats came out that the economy is bad, worse than they’ve ever known it.

So, why the hell should we be calling and tweeting our congresspersons to compromise on one of the bills that will drastically cut spending to such an extent that economic recovery will be extremely difficult?  That makes absolutely no sense.  If anything, we should be tweeting our congress to pass the debt ceiling without any conditions at all and scrap whatever harsh and brutally cruel austerity measure it was contemplating.

Congress needs to go back to the blackboard and craft a new stimulus package.  Republicans and Tea Party lunatics need to get off of the social safety net slash viagra and get in touch with their human side, assuming they have one.  I’ve read that Tea Party activists have complained that the $17 billion in Pell Grants in the budget bills were “welfare”.  Let me just say that after all of the years that I sent enough money to Washington in taxes to support a family of four, I do not want to hear from the jerks who think that a Pell grant is “welfare”.  We’re unemployed professionals.  If you don’t want us sucking off the government, you’d better get the economy back on its feet.

And stay the f%^* out of New Jersey.

Anyway, Merck is laying off something like 12,000 people and 30-40% of those workers are coming out of the United States’ research sites.  I have friends and former colleagues who work at Merck who are worried that they’re next.  They’re not deadbeats.  They’re well educated professionals with more brains in their pinkies than some assholes in Congress have in their entire heads.  This is not fair to them or the hundreds of thousands of future patients who will not get the treatment they need because there won’t be new drugs on the market.

I’m sick of the crap the Republican House is pulling.  I’m enraged by the hostage crisis.  And Obama is the WORST president of my lifetime if he thinks he can capitulate to these maniacs and get away with it.

Screw compromise.  Pass the damn debt ceiling and get back to work.

Don’t make me come down there.

Friday Fast: For Storms in Africa

Long time followers of this blog will remember our Friday Fast posts. Give up your lunch money on Friday and send it to someone who needs it more.

This week’s Friday Fast is dedicated to the Horn of Africa where drought conditions have left the residents vulnerable to famine.

The United States has been following developments in the Horn of Africa for months.  According to Ertharin Cousin, US representative to the UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture:

We now know there are more than 11.5 million people — primarily in Ethiopia, Kenya, and especially Somalia — in need of emergency assistance.

Given the rapidly evolving humanitarian emergency in the region, I was encouraged to see so many countries convene so quickly in Rome for the ministerial-level meeting. There is no time to lose — and meetings such as these must continue to bring the world’s attention to the situation in the Horn.

Here at the U.S. Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome, we have been working practically around the clock to support the broader U.S. and global response to the present crisis; but perhaps more importantly, we have also been working with our partners over the past months to prepare for a drought that we knew was coming. With U.S. Government support, food was pre-positioned in the area, saving over 4 million lives that otherwise would have been at risk.

CNN reports:

 Twelve million people are facing a hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa, and they are in desperate need of help.

The United Nations declared a famine in parts of southern Somalia, calling for a widespread international response to end the suffering.

Thousands of Somalis have been fleeing the country each week in search of food, water and shelter — many of them walking for days in the sweltering sun toward refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia.

Nearly half a million children are at risk of dying from malnutrition and disease.

Relief organizations are calling on the international community to join together to end the crisis, and they’re working to gain entrance into areas with limited humanitarian access.

There are ways you can help.

UNICEF is asking for $31.8 million over the next three months for relief efforts. The money will help provide therapeutic treatment for women and children with severe malnutrition, access to clean drinking water and vaccinations to prevent deadly diseases like measles and polio.

“The earlier we act, the more children we can save. Americans are a generous people, and a little goes a long way — just $10 can feed a child for 10 days,” said Caryl Stern, president of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

$10 bucks.  It sounds like a tiny amount but $10 can go a long way in the hands of organizations that are experienced in handling these kinds of emergencies.  $10 can buy high energy biscuits, clean drinking water, and medical assistance.  I’m a big fan of the cell phone donation method because you can’t get away from it.  Before the cell phone donation, I used to read appeals for donations and think, “Wow, that’s really bad.  I feel for those people.  I want to do something, right after I do XYZ” and then I would forget to call or complete the form.  With the cell phone, all you have to do is type the code to the number and voile!, your lunch money is added to your phone bill.  It’s quick, it’s easy and if you like the feeling of empowerment you get from helping others, you can give up another meal and try a different cell phone donation tomorrow.

But today, I’m only asking you to give up one lunch.  Don’t buy that stuffed burrito and iced tea, decline the 5 Guys burger with The Works and the insane amount of french fries.  Skip the weekly lunch with your work colleagues at the Thai restaurant.  Even we unemployed can get in on the act.  It hits closer to home with us and, really, $10 is not a lot of money.

Give your lunch money to the Horn of Africa.

The CNN article has a couple cell phone donation suggestions:

The United Nations World Food Programme has plans to airlift high energy biscuits and highly nutritious supplementary foods for children and pregnant or nursing mothers into southern Somalia.

Donations can be made from various countries online or via text. To donate $10 from the United States, text “AID” to 27722; to donate $5 from Canada, text “RELIEF” to 45678; to donate £3 from the United Kingdom text “AID” to 70303.

World Vision is working to regain safe humanitarian access in south central Somalia where millions of children are in urgent need of food and assistance.

The organization continues to implement programs in Somaliland and affected areas in Puntland. For families fleeing the drought, World Vision is providing nutrition supplements to malnourished children and improving healthcare and sanitation.

To donate to relief efforts from the United States, visit the website, call 1-888-56-CHILD or text “4AFRICA” to 20222 to donate $10.

For those of you who have a little more money to spend, consider donating to:

International Committee of the Red Cross

OxFam

Mercy Corps

International Rescue Committee 

Save the Children

If you have any other suggestions, add them in the comments.

And if you’re really dedicated, don’t forget your fellow Americans who are visiting food banks in increasing numbers during The Lesser Depression.  Feeding America is my major donation site.  When combined with other $25 donations, that money goes a long way towards feeding families who run out of money before the end of the month. If you have the means, consider a monthly automatic donation.

Be like a tiny drop of rain and storm over Africa:

Insanity, Anders Breivik and the Tea Party Republicans

Anders Breivik is insane, says his public defender in Norway.  He says the guy has a cold personality and is convinced that he’s contributing to some global movement.  Is sounds like nothing was going to stop him from killing 76 people in Norway because it had to be done.  His worldview demanded it.

The Tea Party Freshman are insane, says Senator John McCain.  He says they’re “bizarro” for thinking they can bring down Obama by triggering an economic catastrophe  by refusing to raise the debt ceiling.  But their worldview demands it and they will not be deterred.

At the risk of offending self-described *right-wing Christians* (not average run-of-the-mill churchgoers and christians), this bizarro view of the world is not uncommon among their cohort.  Right wing Christians are getting all in a huff because reporters are finally starting to get a clue about how their worldview may manifest itself in action.   No, Christians would *never* engage in violence, they say.  But if you accept their denials, you may be missing the part of their argument that is the most important to figuring out how dangerous they really are.  Here’s a snippet from a post by RedState writer Eric Erickson that contains the money quote:

Secular leftists and Islamists are both of this world. Christians may be traveling through, but we are most definitely not of the world. In fact, Christ commands us to throw off our ties to this world. But the things of this world love this world and hate the things of God. That’s why secular leftism can embrace both activist homosexuals and activist muslims when the latter would, when true to their faith, be happy to kill the former.

All of them can pile on and condemn the Christian because the Christian is just passing through, a stranger in a strange land.

Over the next week, assuming the budget fight in Washington doesn’t over shadow it, you can expect lots more gloating that the guy in Norway described himself as a conservative Christian. Never mind that a conservative Christian would not do what the guy did. The left, however, will not be persuaded otherwise. They are of this world and this world is all that matters until the last day.

John McCain, take note, they will not respond to reason because they are not of this world.  It’s not that they are out of this world.  They just have no interest in what happens to it at this point.  If there is evil in the world, it will be purged.  But it can’t be purged unless there is a Great Tribulation or an Apocalypse.  They see “signs of the end times”.  The world is chaotic, cause and effect are disconnected and everything is violent, uncertain and random.  But these signs say that it will all be over soon.  Earthquakes, famine, disease, a New World Order, the sign of the Beast.  Nevermind that 30 years ago, this could have been applied to the Soviet Union, a different famine in Africa and AIDS.  Now, it is the threat of jihad from Muslims that makes them anxious.  Not extremist Muslims, ALL Muslims.  Forget that this is crazy and that the vast majority of American Muslims are going to ignore the command to go on jihad and murder all of us in our beds.  They don’t have the time or inclination.  They have full time jobs and kids to cart around to soccer games and bake sales and mortgages and stuff like that.  Who has time for slaying hundreds of millions of infidels?

But this imbalance of a tiny minority of Muslims getting the initiative and capacity to slay the rest of us does not occur to the self described “right wing Christian”.

Nor do they worry much about wrecking the global economy by refusing to raise the debt ceiling.  In fact, they may consider themselves to be catalysts in a twisted interpretation of scripture.  If the world becomes bad enough and conditions unliveable, then surely Christ will return. So, they’re only holding out on the debt ceiling for our own good.  Yes, it’s brutal and horrible for the people who have to suffer but it has to be done.

You might wonder why people who consider themselves to be “not of this world” would even bother running for office.  Presumably, there isn’t a damn thing they can do about what’s going on anyway and God will sort it all out.  But God is going too slowly for their timetable.  After all, we can’t wait forever for Christ to return.  Some of us might die in the meantime.  So, we might have to push God a little bit with a catastrophe of our own making.  And Barack Obama may give them a good excuse to start agitating for a world changing event.  If he’s a secret Muslim running a *Christian* nation, could there be any clearer sign?

You can’t reason with them, John McCain.  You can’t persuade them, John Boehner.  You can’t plead, beg or cajole.  They will have their Armageddon.  The only thing you might be able to do is force them to obey the oath they swore before God to uphold the Constitution.  But even that might not work because they answer only to God.  If you throw them in jail for violating their oaths, that makes them martyrs.  Maybe the best thing to do would be to expel them from their House or Senate positions.  That’s what I would be going for.  But even though they are completely unhinged when it comes to the debt ceiling, they might be useful in some other capacity for House leadership.  And anyway, only Democrats are forced out.  Never Republicans.  Republicans know they need to keep every one of their votes while Democrats are committed to purging any inconvenient ones on their side.  (And we wonder why they are always so weak.)

So, there you have it.  If some of the Tea Partiers who claim to be right wing Christians are holding out, it might be because they get their marching orders from God, filtered through Glenn Beck or some other ignorant blowhard.  They are going to bring us all down joyfully, putting their faith in God alone, listening only to him and the other people who think just like they do. The only way to avert global economic meltdown in the face of such obstinacy may be to exercise the 14th Amendment option and worry about the fallout afterwards.  The fallout may necessarily include filing procedures against the holdouts for violating their oaths.  I would.  It’s not a partisan thing, it’s a sanity thing.  Government can not function when the people elected to run it see it as an obstacle to their heavenly government.

People will do all kinds of crazy things in the name of God.  I wouldn’t say they’re insane.  They’re quite sane.  They just have a different worldview, reinforced by endtime TV preachers, unethically ambitious political mouthpieces and global media moguls.  This is the world we live in and they are part of it because they participate in the spread of that worldview.  Whether they appreciate it or not, if they take us down, they’re going down with us.  And there will be no Rapture.  If the Tea Party drives us into the greatest Depression we’ve ever known, they may consider a cold prison in Norway a better alternative to what the rest of the world will want to do with them.

Addendum: This is the Congressional Oath of Office:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;

    that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion

; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

Krugman going rogue

Bilbo Baggins (R Tea Party- The Shire)

He was shrill before but mostly towards movement conservative Republicans.  Then he found out Obama *are* one.  In Conservative Origins of Obamacare, Krugman lays out the case that we’ve been making for three years now:

The essence of Obamacare, as of Romneycare, is a three-legged stool of regulation and subsidies: community rating requiring insurers to make the same policies available to everyone regardless of health status; an individual mandate, requiring everyone to purchase insurance, so that healthy people don’t opt out; and subsidies to keep insurance affordable for those with lower incomes.

The original Heritage plan from 1989 had all these features.

These days, Heritage strives mightily to deny the obvious; it picks at essentially minor differences between what it used to advocate and the plan Democrats actually passed, and tries to make them seem like a big deal. But this is disinformation. The essential features of the ACA — above all, the mandate — are ideas Republicans used to support.

Then, in Obama the Moderate Conservative, Krugman just gives up and admits that the guy is one of them, admitting that he will get plenty of “foaming at the mouth” comments.

You know, Paul, I’m not so sure about that.  The foaming has mostly stopped to be replaced by wide open mouthed thunderstruck gaping.  The Obots are finally starting to realize they’ve been played.  Even ThereIsNoSpoon isn’t going shwing! over Obama today.  He’s more subdued like, “Obama is totally sucking, wow, I can’t believe how bad he is.  Damn, wish I didn’t have to vote Democrat in 2012”.  So, you know, it’s bad.

But it had to be said, Paul.  I admire your optimism in the face of so many inauspicious early data points.  You do realize that there’s no going back.  There are still a %#$@load of unemployed people out here and our prospects will get bleaker if any deficit reduction plan is implemented.  Whether he’s doing it to get re-elected or because he really believes it’s good for the country, we are still going to suffer hard, long and unnecessarily.  If that sounds like a description of rape, well, that’s because that’s what it feels like.  And it’s only going to get worse right up to election day 2012 because the Republicans *want* the economy to be as bad as it can possibly get before November 2012.   I’m not just going to eat my peas because some cocky young jerks and machine politicians in Chicago are calling the shots.  Are you?

In any case, we will be sending you our complimentary Democrats in Exile welcome package complete with knitting needles, white sheet and HRT starter pack.  Welcome to the club.

In other news: Democrats are starting to agitate for Obama to use the 14th Amendment option.  Things are getting a little too interesting in this lifetime.

Did I mention that the Tea Party Representatives really are out of their Fucking minds?? From Hullabaloo:

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said today that some members of his own caucus who are refusing to agree to a compromise debt ceiling deal are hoping to unleash “chaos” and thus force the White House and Senate Democrats to make bigger concessions than they’re already offering. As many as 40 House Republicans, especially Tea Party members and freshmen, have demanded nothing short of changing the Constitution to include a balanced budget amendment before they would vote to raise debt ceiling, even though that has zero chance before the U.S. faces potential default on Aug. 2.

Speaking on conservative radio host Laura Ingraham’s show this morning, Boehner agreed that failing to raise the limit before the deadline would be devastating, and said the “chaos” plan won’t work when asked by Ingraham what’s motivating the recalcitrant Republicans:

BOEHNER: Well, first they want more. And my goodness, I want more too. And secondly, a lot of them believe that if we get past August the second and we have enough chaos, we could force the Senate and the White House to accept a balanced budget amendment. I’m not sure that that — I don’t think that that strategy works. Because I think the closer we get to August the second, frankly, the less leverage we have vis a vis our colleagues in the Senate and the White House.

And then there is this from John McCain who is calling House Republicans names:

Earlier today, he called them Hobbits who were going to refuse to raise the debt ceiling so that the country would turn on Barack Obama and bring down Mordor.

That’s silly, John, Hobbits aren’t that ambitious.

Heads up, Tea Party:  If you really want to make Obama one-termer, you do not want to make Democrats start to feel sorry for him.

Wednesday: You can have any color car as long as its black

Henry Ford was supposed to have said that about the Model T cars he was starting to roll off the assembly line.

The most recent incarnation of the current Democratic loyalist has this same attitude, it appears.  Any0ne who has been following the heartbreaky true story of a man on the edge, ThereIsNoSpoon, trying desperately to gather a flock of lost sheep back into the fold, while fighting his own private daemons, has heard something to the effect that Barack Obama is our leader and we aren’t going to ditch him.  Part cheerleader, part whicpcracker, part arrogant snot come to knock some sense into those brainless morons at Digby’s blog, TINS puts up with a lot of insults but those barbs just bouse off of him because the whiners are not going to get what they want from this president.  They might as well stop complaining and get in line.  Besides, all that complaining has shaken TINS faith and we can’t have that.

But with all of TINS insistence that Michele Bachmann (whooooo, scary, she’s going to bite you in your sleep!) would be so much worse as president in 2012, he fails to convince us that Barack Obama is that much of a prize worth fighting for.  In fact, many of Digby’s commenters have decided not to fight for him.  Or give money or maybe even their votes.  And why might that be?

Well, TINS is holding up Obama as our Democratic president who is the only thing stopping us from the Republican Horde from Hell.  But Obama’s performance through this debt criss has revealed that in some respects, he is to the right of John Boehner.  He is happy to offer up cuts in Social Security, a program that does not add to the deficit, and he does this voluntarily regardless of how this will impact the lives of recipients who use social security as their primary source of income.  Maybe $500/year less in income doesn’t sound like much to Barry but to grandma Edith, it could make the difference between buying something for her grandkids at Christmas or paying the heating bill.  That’s not a choice Grandmas or grandchildren around the country are going to appreciate.

If all TINS has to get us to support Obama is fear, he’s got his work cut out for him.  If Democrats surrender their principles and stop protecting the middle and working class, what would be the point of voting at all?  And it’s not so clear to me that saving Barry’s ass in 2012 is all that important.

Is TINS saying that Barack Obama is the best Democrat we could run in 2012?  There are no other Democrats in the entire party that could do a better job than Obama?  That would be quite an admission about the quality of the politicians who identify themselves as Democrats.  Obama hasn’t represented the party from the minute he started to run for President.  But TINS is trying to tell us that it’s Barry or nothing.  If not Barry, Michelle.  What a choice.

Or is it that TINS has tailored his affiliation to the Democratic party so narrowly that he can’t imagine any other candidate who would fit his criteria who could actually run.  That suggests that TINS and others like him who have a strangle hold on the political power structure would rather choke the life out of the party before they will entertain any other candidate, even if that candidate is more popular and more loyal to Democratic principles.  Or, is TINS suggesting that the party leadership will not allow a challenger no matter *what* the snippy voters want.  What do the voters know of politics?  They don’t know what goes on behind closed doors and all of the horse trading and petty insults and careful accounting of who kissed whose ass.  That’s right, they don’t know.  All the know is what they see and they don’t like what they see.  They want choices.  But the party may have decided not to give them one whether because Barry’s money is so good or their too afraid of a primary or because they don’t want to look like they’re losing face or they don’t want to take on the Chicago machine.

So, what TINS is is an errand boy from the guys in charge who is to deliver a message to the rank and file to say, “You have no choice.  It’s Barry or Michele and that’s final.  Get in line, NOW, or you will be responsible for bringing on catastrophe.”

That’s what I’m hearing.  I’m not hearing anything about a jobs program or saving the social safety net or exposing the Republicans as not being a party but the political arm of a group of uber wealthy investors who want to buy and sell pieces of America to each other.  What I’m hearing is that the Democratic party is not really a party that represents Democrats.  It’s a party that spends its time trying to manipulate its voters into doing what it planned to do anyway.  That’s not a choice.  And I am not sheep.

Democrats can continue to say there is no other choice than Barry and that’s true only if there is no Democratic party that I would recognize.  What they’re saying is that they know Barry is not a Democrat with true Democratic principles but they want you to ignore all of that and vote for him anyway because it’s final, goddammit, get with the program.  They’re saying that Obama is the icon that represents everything the Democrats believe.  He is their leader.  They will abide by his decisions whether they like them or not and we will have to get used to them too.  They are saying that it is impossible to primary Obama 15 months out from another critical election and that this would weaken Democrat’s chances of winning.

And we get…..?

I don’t believe this for a second.  This far out, the Democrats have choices.  They can replace this guy who doesn’t seem to know how to do his job and is a lousy negotiator and whose stupid decisions may be endangering all of their seats.  What is stopping them?  A bunch of prissy ivy league guys who don’t want to work for a woman?  Whose irrational clinging to Clinton urban legends is more important that the fate of millions and millions of unemployed people?

I guess so.

But everyone has choices, TINS.  We own our votes.  They’re more important to us that you might think.  And if Barry is writing us off because he thinks we’ll cave when Bachmann gets the nomination so he can go after the independent vote now, he’s got another thing coming.  He has to give us a reason to vote for him and right now, “You have no choice” isn’t doing it.  There’s *always* a choice.