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Restore the Wetlands. Reinforce the Levees.

Posts Tagged ‘Hurricane Radio’

A Cure for “The Silence of the Dems”

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

What kind of future can there be for a political party that defers all its speaking roles to a conflict-averse President who does not want to be too closely identified with his party? And what future for that party’s legacy of “social contract” programs—and the people who need them?

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“For too long, Democrats, Liberals, and Progressives have acted as if government programs being funded by tax dollars are either settled issues (in the case of SS, Medicare, etc) or can speak for their value themselves (NEA, Amtrak, Post Office, etc). None of those things are true.

“All the Democratic, Liberal, and Progressive analysts are sitting around scratching their heads, wondering why Perry is actually gaining support by saying things like [‘Social Security is a Ponzi scheme’].” —Pat Armstrong, aka Cousin Pat from Georgia

[ Note: The following was posted late on 9/10 as “Rx for ‘The Silence of the Dems’ ” but is being re-posted for better visibility now that 9/11’s all-eclipsing 10th anniversary has passed. ]

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A Fix for the Deficit That Worries Us Most

Over the weekend, our friend Cousin Pat from Georgia (below), the Station Manager of Hurricane Radio, wrote some compelling comments in reply to “Pass This Jobs Bill” that should be taken to heart by as many readers as possible—particularly those of the liberal, progressive, Democratic stripe. Particularly the donkeys in the Democratic party machinery, who, like their G.O.P. counterparts, never listen to anyone under them. And so we’re bringing the discussion up from the basement of that post’s comments section to the front page here, which as you already know ranks somewhere between the New York Times and The Onion in influence on the thinkers and powers that be. Seriously, though, we wish the lion-hearted geniuses at the Democratic National Committee and on the committee to re-elect the president would tune in 24/7 to Hurricane Radio.

Pat, who describes himself as “a pragmatic, just-left-of-true-center Democratic voter,” debuted at Levees Not War last October when we posted a lengthy excerptfrom his hot, lucid rant titled “Why the GOP Is Going to Win in November.” Unfortunately, he was absolutely correct. Sadly, every word still rings true. See for yourself.

In reply to our account of President Obama’s “assertive, even imperative” address to the joint session of Congress Thursday night, Pat wrote:

I was wondering who that guy was giving the speech. 

What makes me angry is that, had this type of language been used in the first go-round, and these types of policies been more highlighted in the first stimulus, he may have gotten more with less drain on his political capital. 

Even with this new language and policy, he’s facing an uphill battle because the last stimulus was a modest policy win coupled with an absolute political disaster. 

But you know what they say about the best time to plant a tree.

We have complained before about “the Silence of the Dems” and said so again toward the end of “Pass This”: “The Democratic party has a serious communications deficit and had better start training its members in sharp, focused, disciplined public speaking.”

In reply to Pat we wrote:

[Obama] and his party need to emphasize repeatedly as one of their Top 3 Messages that government / public agencies serve many vital, necessary functions (safety inspections, air traffic safety, postal service, Social Security & Medicare, education, transportation, etc.), and in these essential ways “your tax dollars” are not being misspent. But many of us citizens all across the spectrum dislike gov’t in part because we feel we’re not getting much return on the taxes we pay—so much of the application of tax $ goes overseas. And because one party in particular constantly rails against the very idea of government. This may not have been your point, exactly, but do you agree? ¶ On another point, when is the best time to plant a tree?

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Talkin’ to You, Barack (and You, America)

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Yesterday’s piece “The Silence of the Dems” was originally meant to introduce some choice excerpts from a tough, hard-hitting post by our friend Pat at Hurricane Radio titled “Why the GOP Is Going to Win in November.” We do not concede that heavy losses are inevitable, but here’s why Dems are in such trouble. Be sure to read the piece in full—we’ve filed it under “Rants We Wish We’d Written”—but first, as a warm-up, here are some heavy punches. (Might this be a fitting post on the weekend Rahm Emanuel leaves the White House? You decide.)

“Why the GOP Is Going to Win in November”

You get elected with a mandate for change, and then proceed to make minor, incremental changes that your political opponents use to cast you as a communist. . . .

You withdraw, expecting blind support from your own side while leaving the debate to your political opponents, because you think if you are nice to them, they will stop acting like lunatics. You think that the American people will turn in disgust from their lunacy without you having to do anything, even though that flies in the face of every historical indication of American culture.

You allow revisions of the last 10 years of history to go unchallenged. . . .

On policy, you step back while the Pelosi/Reid situation in Congress gives us a politically disasterous, confusing and meekly submitted stimulus; a confusing health care plan that removes the majority of real progressive reform; Gitmo remains open, and the plan to actually bring the terrorists to trial has faltered; we double down in Afganistan without really doing what needs to be done to win that conflict; we leave 50,000 troops and a host of defense contractors in Iraq; some of the worst excesses of the drug war and the war on terror continue unabated. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, despite broad support for repeal, remains—even politically gamed to a defense spending bill.

Let me be clear—if I have to defend the Health Care Bill because it was originally a “conservative” idea, there’s a reason your supporters aren’t up for this go-round in November. Not a single one of your opponents voted for the bill, and yet it was their think tanks that proposed most of it. One of their Presidential candidates from the last go-round made something like this happen in Massachusetts with the help of their new Senator from Massachusetts. That was basically their bill, without disbanding Medicare and Medicaid to pay for it.

That means THEY got THEIR legislation passed while THEY were in the MINORITY and NOT A ONE OF THEM VOTED FOR IT.

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The Silence of the Dems

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Now, finally, the president’s out there on the stump doing what we wish he’d been doing for the past 16 months or so: drawing sharp, biting distinctions between Democrats and Republicans. Great timing, five weeks before election day. We pray it ain’t too late. It would have helped if the Senate Democrats had not timidly wimped away from forcing a vote on the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and pushed the Republicans to show how much they care for the middle class. Their timidity explains the enthusiasm gap (but that’s no excuse for not voting against Republicans on Nov. 2).

Why Is Barack Obama All Alone?

But where are his fellow Democrats, now and for the past year and a half? Is the president alone because he spent more time courting the party that wants him to fail than organizing and training surrogates in his own party to help frame the message and control the national debate? We think so. We recall wondering with distress during the stimulus struggle in February 2009, “Where are the f—ing Democrats?!”

All week we’ve been wondering Where are the f—ing Senate Democrats?! It’s as though the camera hogs have turned into groundhogs, frightened of their shadows, leaving Obama to do all the heavy lifting on the American Recovery and Investment Plan, better known as The Stimulus.

All the work of promoting and defending the stimulus and health care reform and Wall Street reform seems to have been left to the president to handle by himself. This is inexcusable. Even on Dem-friendly MSNBC much of the air time goes to covering conservatives’ antics and rantings instead of Democrats’ and progressives’ positive messaging. (There are a few exceptions, such as Barney Frank, Alan Grayson, Debbie Wasserman Shultz, Sherrod Brown, Howard Dean.)

Where Are the Donkeys That Kick Ass?

Democrats are said to be the majority party, yet they’re AWOL while Boehner and Cantor and other conservative big mouths have been shaking the leaves off the trees with their high-pitched elephant roars and hoof-poundings about out-of-control spending. Where are the donkeys that kick ass?

What drives us f—ing craaazy is that since Inauguration Day the Democrats have allowed the Republicans to control the national microphone as though the Dems are still scared shitless of the elephant’s hoof the way they were from 9/11/01 onward. As our friend Pat of Hurricane Radio says in a hot, lucid piece we wish we’d written, “You [Obama and the Dems] have to learn that there are political consequences for letting the other side control the debate.”

Get Out the Vote: No Staying Home on Nov. 2

Don’t get us wrong, we’re about to get our donkey back in gear by rejoining the Organizing for America phone banks to call the disillusioned pessimistics to please come back out and vote even if you don’t feel like it. Please, fellow Americans, check your local listings for OFA in your area and make phone calls as if your nation’s sanity depends on it—because it does. You can phone from home. Even if you’re mad at how things have gone down since January 20, 2009 (we are too), do not stay home on Election Day, but phone and e-mail friends and family to get out and vote for Democrats or at least against Republicans on Nov. 2.

Remember, voting for a candidate is only one step. Even after election day we have to keep after them. The White House and members of Congress—Democrats especially—have to be hit over the head repeatedly with bricks and frying pans before they’ll act on any issue not of immediate concern to their reelection or fund-raising. Sorry, but it’s the system we have. The conservatives never rest, and neither can progressives, liberals, protectors of the social safety net.