Levees Not War
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Posts Tagged ‘democrats’

Obama Wins More Time to Repair, Lead America Forward

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Solid Victories for Progressive, Liberal Candidates, Reforms

[ cross-posted at Daily Kos ]

“The task of perfecting our union moves forward”

“I have never been more hopeful about America. . . . I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting. . . . 

“I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. . . . We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.”

Barack Obama, Chicago, Nov. 6, 2012

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“[H]ere is the challenge to our democracy: In this nation I see tens of millions of its citizens . . . who at this very moment are denied the greater part of what the very lowest standards of today call the necessities of life. . . . I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished. . . . The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide for those who have too little.

—Franklin D. Roosevelt, Second Inaugural Address (1937)

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This Is Our Idea of “Morning in America”

Last night Barack Obama became only the second Democratic president since FDR (in 1936) to win a second term with more than 50 percent of the vote in both his elections.

In our humble opinion, a win for the Democrats is a win for the American people. Of course not every American person sees it that way, but when illness or disaster strikes, or food needs inspecting, or voting rights need protecting, it’s best to have a government managed by the party that fought for and established Medicare, Social Security, FEMA, the Voting Rights Act, and so on. The party that believes government can and should be a force for the public good. Not the only solution, but indispensable and more reliable than the profit sector.

And it is a good thing for the 47 percent (indeed, the 99 percent) that the man who said “[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives” is not going to be the next president of the United States. We do want to say, however, that Gov. Romney, after waiting nearly an hour and a half before calling the president to concede (Karl Rove live on Fox was not ready to give up on Ohio), gave an admirably gracious and dignified concession speech to his supporters in Boston (see photo below).

From the East Coast to the West, across the Rust Belt and Midwest, and in Virginia, Colorado and New Mexico, President Obama held ground he won in 2008. With a weak economy—nearly drowned in Grover Norquist’s bathtub by Republicans intent on strangling Obama’s every initiative—and under relentless attack from hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of negative ads by “dark money” conservative interests, he lost only two states he’d won in 2008: North Carolina and Indiana. The critical battleground states of Ohio, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Nevada stayed blue. (See maps below). As of this writing the president’s electoral vote margin is about 100 (303 to 206), and his popular vote margin is roughly 3 million: 60.4 million to Romney’s 57.6 million. Florida is still counting.

Professor Warren Goes to Capitol Hill

Besides our elation with the president’s victory, in this year of a “war on women”—or at least appallingly callous attitudes and legislative hostility—we are delighted to welcome new senators Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (Wisc.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.Dak.), and Mazie K. Hirono (Hawaii), and congratulate senators Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.) on their reelection. (More about women’s wins here and here.) The Senate races are not all decided, but the Democrats have gained at least one seat, and currently have a 55–45 majority, with Maine’s newly elected independent Angus King likely to caucus with the Dems. With more progressives in his ranks, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is talking again about filibuster reform. Yes, please!

One of the best things about Elizabeth Warren’s election to the Senate is that, being so knowledgeable about financial institutions and law, and so committed to reform on behalf of protecting those who are not investment bankers, she will keep the discussion on a more serious and fact-based plane. It is especially sweet that the incumbent she defeated 54% to 46%, Scott Brown, was the senator most lavishly funded by Wall Street contributors. One of the MSNBC people last night (Chris Matthews?) said that Warren is the most intellectually substantive person elected to the U.S. Senate since the late Patrick Moynihan (D-NY). Not only that, but she’ll put a lot of energy and momentum into Wall Street and consumer protection reform, which has really only begun. Now Jon Stewart will really want to make out with her.

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Mad Tea Party with Chainsaws and Clowns

Friday, April 8th, 2011

“From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step.”Denis Diderot (1713–1784)

“I love gridlock. I think we’re better off when we’re gridlocked because we’re not passing things.”Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Feb. 2010

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Amid all the talk and worry of a Shutdown Showdown, is anyone else noticing that this crisis is happening as the United States is embarking on yet a third or fourth simultaneous, costly war? We and other prophets could see this thing coming even before last November’s mid-term election when the Republicans were already warning that a Shutdown might be necessary to curb Washington’s “out of control spending,” though of course they hoped it wouldn’t have to come to that. And if it did happen, it wouldn’t be their fault. (Remember 1995?) A budget crisis complete with the grinding of chainsaws and the flashes of bloody meat cleavers was foreseeble last December when the Republicans were forcing an extension of the Bush (now Obama) Tax Cuts for Million- and Billionaires. Yes, the party demanding billions in spending cuts is the same that fought furiously for a high-end tax cut that will add $700 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years. The same one that sold us the $3 trillion Iraq war.

The Obama administration, which has gotten itself backed up against a wall yet again by “seeking common ground” and waiting again till the 4th quarter to speak up, warns that a government shutdown could furlough over 800,000 federal workers, interrupt military pay, and slow tax refunds.

We blame the Tea Party-infused Republicans for this mess, but we also hold the timid, mute Democrats responsible. (Democrats have already agreed to $33 billion in cuts and still the Mad Tea Party demands more blood.) And We the People are also responsible for this because we have not demanded forcefully enough that Congress and the White House stand up against this madness. Some of Us even voted for these extremists.

It’s Not About the Budget Deficit

“Conservatives cannot govern well for the same reason that vegetarians cannot prepare a world-class boeuf bourguignon: If you believe that what you are called upon to do is wrong, you are not likely to do it very well.”

—Alan Wolfe, “Why Conservatives Can’t Govern

Those driving the G.O.P. do not care about creating jobs or providing relief for the 24 million un- or underemployed—nor it seems do those trying to appease them. The ideologues are forcing this fight not so much to reduce the deficit as to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood or any abortion or family-planning services; to cut funding for NPR, health care reform, and the new consumer protection bureau; and to prevent regulation of greenhouse gases by the Environmental Protection Agency. (In 1995, too, G.O.P. insistence on unrelated policy objectives forced a shutdown.) Some of the basic, public-protecting functions of government are being gutted while the president seeks “common ground” (and reelection). Where are the forceful voices of the pro-government faction of the Democratic party? Why do they not boast of the many good accomplishments of the last two years? Why didn’t they before the mid-term elections? (See “A Failure to Communicate—Not a Failure to Govern” and “Yes We Can Pass Good Legislation.”) Do the networks still allow Democrats to appear before a camera? Are progressive Dems allowed inside the Meet the Press studio?

Who knows what will happen? No one knows how this plays out. It cannot end well, though, with an overly conciliatory, “post-partisan” president who wants to find common ground with extremist ideologues intent on shutting down the government. All we know is that it’s time for Democrats and moderates and any sane, responsible Republicans still breathing (Dick Lugar is one) to stand up and begin, at last, to make the case for why government is good and necessary and must be not only preserved but reinforced with tax revenues from corporations and the very well-to-do—many of whom (like the Koch-funded “Americans for Prosperity” and “FreedomWorks”) have fueled this fire. It is pathetic that the one nation on earth with the most stable, long-lasting democratic, representative  government with a built-in balance of powers, so carefully constructed by wise and prudent men, is now apparently at the mercy of zealots driven by corporate money and 24-hour anti-government propaganda. Verily, the rich are killing us all.

They will over-reach, they will have to retreat some, but will the moderate general public ever rise up and say “Enough!”? We have little hope in our elected officials. The determined and courageous pro-labor citizens of Wisconsin and elsewhere in the Midwest give us some hope, but how bad does it have to get?

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See also:

Is Barack Obama a Manchurian Republican?

Sanctimonious Purists Unite: An Open Letter to Obama and Biden

No “Kumbaya” for Billionaires

A Failure to Communicate—Not a Failure to Govern

In Defense of Liberalism and Good Government

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“We don’t quit. I don’t quit.”

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

To Democrats, I would remind you that we still have the largest majority in decades, and the people expect us to solve problems, not run for the hills.” —President Obama, Jan. 27, 2010

That was our favorite line of the State of the Union address. Now, the president and the general public should keep reminding the congressional Democrats of this fact every day, for how easily they forget. In a speech that did not shrink at all from his ambitious agenda—but that wisely set the necessity of reforms in the context of economic necessity—the president challenged everyone in the room to keep working, and work harder, to deliver the change that the American people voted for in 2008.

Probably our second most appreciated challenge was the one that followed, directed at the cool-handed Republicans:

And if the Republican leadership is going to insist that 60 votes in the Senate are required to do any business at all in this town—a supermajority—then the responsibility to govern is now yours as well. [Applause] Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it’s not leadership. We were sent here to serve our citizens, not our ambitions.

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Democrats, Be Bold. Do Not Freak Out.

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Stand up straight. No cringing, no cowering.

The loss of the Massachusetts senate seat is dismaying but unfortunately not surprising. What worries us is that Democrats will learn the wrong lessons from the loss—they have a way of doing that. Some have said “we should slow down, ease off.” But to all the members of Congress who have phoned in to ask our advice, we have one clear, concise bit of counsel: Be boldly populist and fight for the ordinary voters. To hell with what pleases Wall Street, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup. Wake up from the sweet dream of “bipartisanship.” If they’re going to call you a “socialist,” then by all means earn the title. Press harder on the progressive issues of health care reform, oversight of the financial industry, and aggressive jobs programs (WPA, CCC style), and for God’s sake speak up for the positive role of government (or call it the public sector). Focus the message. (See Jeffrey Feldman’s HuffPo column “The Lesson of the Lunch-Bucket Democrats.”)

Don’t douse the base with cold water. Remember how poorly Democrat Creigh Deeds fared in his bid for governorship of Virginia last November? Perhaps not. Few remember his name at all. He lost by 18 points. As Markos Moulitsas of DailyKos observed:

1. If you abandon Democratic principles in a bid for unnecessary “bipartisanship,” you will lose votes.

2. If you water down reform in favor of Blue Dogs and their corporate benefactors, you will lose votes.

3. If you forget why you were elected—health care, financial services, energy policy and immigration reform—you will lose votes.

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Huffington Posts LNW’s ‘Ballsy’ Edwards Endorsement

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

LNW_Edwards-podiumPerhaps it was because the whole world was waiting to see whom among the 2008 presidential candidate Levees Not War would endorse—or maybe there was another reason—but the admirable HuffingtonPost featured our John Edwards endorsement in their “Off the Bus” campaign section (‘Ground Level Coverage of Campaign ’08’). The editors chose an amusing headline: ‘NOLA Endorsement: Edwards Will “Kick Repubs in the Balls”.’ Actually what we said (as you can see below) was: ‘Democrats need a tough candidate who won’t hesitate to kick the Republicans in the balls’—but who’s quibbling?

HuffPo’s mention was also picked up by a German blog, Gebloggtewelten.de, under the heading ‘Alles Wieder Gut?’ Our German is a little rusty, but if translations come through, we’ll provide a rendering in English for those who just can’t wait to find out what the Germans are saying about John Edwards and Levees Not War.

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