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Archive for the ‘Democrats’ Category

Mid-Term Elections Still In Play, With Dems Gaining Momentum

Crooks & Liars- By Susie Madrak
October 04, 2010 09:00 AM
Some good news for the Democrats. So taking over the House and the Senate isn’t quite as easy as Republicans hoped – or as Democrats feared. The situation is still fluid, and Dems need to keep up the pressure:

WASHINGTON — Republicans carry substantial advantages as they move into the final month of the fall campaign, but the resilience of vulnerable Democrats is complicating Republican efforts to lock down enough seats to capture the House and take control of the unsettled electoral battleground.

By now, Republicans had hoped to put away a first layer of Democrats and set their sights on a second tier of incumbents. But the fight for control of Congress is more fluid than it seemed at Labor Day, with Democrats mounting strong resistance in some parts of the country as they try to hold off a potential Republican wave in November.

The chances of a Republican takeover in the House remain far greater than in the Senate, according to a race-by-race analysis by The New York Times. But enough contests remain in flux that both parties head into the final four weeks of the campaign with the ability to change the dynamic before Election Day.

Races typically tighten in the final month as voters on both sides become more engaged, and the political climate is no more favorable for Democrats than it has been all year, with no substantial signs of improvement in the economy or the outlook for unemployment.

Yet even as spending from outside groups is threatening to swamp many Democratic candidates, Republican strategists estimated that only half of the 39 seats they need to win control of the House were definitively in hand.

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New Poll: Restless Voters Prefer Democrats Again, But Still Hate Incumbents

ALAN FRAM | 05/15/10 08:14 PM | AP

WASHINGTON — People want Democrats to control Congress after this fall’s elections, a shift from April, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll released Saturday. But the margin is thin and there’s a flashing yellow light for incumbents of both parties: Only about one-third want their own lawmakers re-elected.

The tenuous 45 percent to 40 percent preference for a Democratic Congress reverses the finding a month ago on the same question: 44 percent for Republicans and 41 percent for Democrats. The new readout came as the economy continued showing signs of improvement and the tumultuous battle over the health care law that President Barack Obama finally signed in March faded into the background.

“To the extent that Democrats can focus on job creation rather than health care, they tend to do better,” said Jack Pitney, a political scientist at California’s Claremont McKenna College.

Democrats hold a 254-177 majority over Republicans in the House, with four vacancies, while Democrats control 59 of the Senate’s 100 seats, counting support from two independents. Despite those disadvantages, the GOP has gained political momentum in recent months and its leaders hope to win control of at least one chamber of Congress this November.

Compared with the last AP-GfK poll in April, the survey showed Republicans losing some support among married women, a key component of many GOP victories. Democrats picked up ground among young and rural voters.

“I’m a new Democrat,” said Harley Smithson, 51, of Baltimore, who said he had recently switched from the GOP. “I want to be with a party that’s for something instead of against everything.”

Even so, the poll underscores that the political environment remains ominous for Democrats.

Just 35 percent say the country is heading in the right direction, the lowest measured by the AP-GfK survey since a week before Obama took office in January 2009. His approval rating remains at 49 percent, as low as it’s been since he become president.

Congressional Democrats win approval from only 37 percent, though congressional Republicans score an even drearier 31 percent. Democrats and Republicans are about evenly trusted to handle the economy, an issue Democrats once dominated and one that is crucial at a time when the country’s job situation, though brightening, remains grim.

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Two weeks ago in this space, I wrote about how the Democrats appear to be totally incompetent at ballyhooing their own successes. And make no mistake, there have been numerous legislative triumphs over the last year.

Really. No, seriously. Stop laughing. There have been.

They rescued the economy. They set new emissions standards. They protected two million acres of national forest. They passed legislation to help unemployed Americans to afford COBRA health insurance. They expanded affordable health insurance for children. They passed historic hate crimes legislation. They passed the largest middle class tax cut in American history. They’re tantalizingly close to passing health care reform. All of this despite a record number of Republican filibusters by the crackpot minority party.

So I have to ask: H-H-Hello? Anyone home?

Two events this week have served to illustrate my point about the ongoing failure of the Democrats to self-promote.

The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 went into effect. Major Democratic triumph. At long last, some of the most predatory and nefarious scams orchestrated by one of the most predatory and nefarious industries have been officially banned. Of course the credit card companies will come up with new, cruel and unusual ways to screw us hard, but this was a major victory in the effort to reform the financial sector. No more random interest rate hikes. No retroactive rate hikes. Fair warning. Transparency.

But you’d never know it based upon the silence from Capitol Hill and the White House. It’s truly confounding. Where are the Democrats? They ought to be bumrushing everyone with a camera and a fake law library backdrop — thumping their chests about how this bill will make our lives just a little bit less complicated and costly. And holy hell, it was a totally bipartisan vote in the Senate, too. 90 to 5. The lawmakers who are scrambling to prove they’re “reaching across the aisle” and all that happy crappy glad-handing — all of the pandering to the voters who tell pollsters there’s too much partisan bickering, then turn around and vote along straight party lines — these Democrats ought to be the loudest and proudest of the bunch.

Hear that? Crickets chirping.

It gets worse.

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Here’s a major reason why the Republicans are still a viable party: they don’t mind getting loud. They’re willing to flagrantly lie out loud, while also making a huge production out of insignificant and contradictory nonsense that heretofore was never even considered to be a political trespass — shamelessly and unapologetically amplifying it all to a level of noise that forces the press and voters alike to pay attention.

The Democrats could learn a thing or two about this. More presently.

For all of their faults, the Republicans are absolutely using the whole political animal, so to speak. Like an ancient tribe of hunter-gatherers, they’re somehow able to butcher every carcass and turn all of the lies, gaffes and misstatements into something useful. Something that will command attention. Put another way, the Republican strategy seems to be: there’s no such thing as bad press, so get loud.

Over the weekend, Sarah Palin appeared in Nashville at the Tea Party convention and while criticizing the president for using a teleprompter — a device that all politicians, presidents and TV personalities have used since the technology was first invented — she had the words “tax cuts” scrawled on her hand or else there was a chance she might forget.

A Republican who might forget to say “tax cuts” is like a preacher who might forget to say “Jesus Christ.” But there she was. The leader of the Republican Party — so ill-prepared, so incapable of even the most basic political skills that she had to write a secret crib sheet on her hand to help her remember to say “tax cuts.” Say nothing of the fact that Miss Drill-Baby-Drill had to write “energy” on her hand also.

In her defense, I understand Lincoln had to write “slavery” and “Civil War” on his hand so he wouldn’t forget. So there’s that.

And yet the Republicans don’t mind getting loud about it. She’s just like regular folks, they say. She’s just like you, they say. This makes her qualified to be president, they say. (The Republicans are even loud about repeating colossal mistakes. Even after George W. Bush nearly destroyed the Republican brand, they’re doubling down on the stupid by elevating Sarah Palin. Just remarkable.)

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Bill Moyers: “Let’s Face It, Two Political Parties; Equal Opportunity Hypocrites”

Crooks & Liars- By Heather Saturday Feb 06, 2010 2:00pm

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Bill Moyers smacks the Democrats and Republicans for sucking up to corporate lobbyists at their retreats and Mitch McConnell for the hypocrisy of his statement on the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court ruling.

BILL MOYERS: Everybody’s been talking about that Republican retreat last weekend, where President Obama engaged his opponents in a give and take. But what you may not know is that it was organized by something called the Congressional Institute. Nice highfalutin civic bunch, you might deduce from its name. Turns out the Congressional Institute is funded by corporate contributions and run by top Republican lobbyists. There are fourteen members on its board–twelve are registered lobbyists. And the contributors to the Congressional Institute read like a who’s who of corporate America. Among its benefactors have been General Motors, Lockheed Martin, Time Warner, UPS. The institute’s chairman lobbies for among others, Goldman Sachs, B.P., Health Net and AHIP. That’s the trade group for the health insurance industry that fought tooth and nail against the public option and brought the White House to its knees.

Now if any Democrats out there are gloating over this, I’m not finished. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee also had a cozy little retreat last weekend at a Ritz-Carlton resort in Miami Beach, which boasts “sumptuous marble baths,” a spa, and a two million dollar art collection. The website Politico.com reports that in addition to prominent Democratic senators there were plenty of representatives from industries the Democrats regularly attack when they wear their populist hat: the American Bankers Association, the tobacco giant Altria, the oil company Marathon, several drug manufacturers, and the defense contractor Lockheed Martin, as well as Heather and Tony Podesta — two of the biggest corporate spear carriers on K Street and two of the biggest Democrats in town. Very, very intimate. And very, very politically incestuous.

One final note: after the Supreme Court handed down its decision two weeks ago, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the leader of Senate Republicans, praised it from the senate floor. He dismissed the notion that the decision might allow a flood of foreign money to influence our elections. Now we learn from TalkingPointsMemo.com that Senator McConnell has received substantial funds from a subsidiary of a big foreign defense contractor that’s currently being investigated by the Justice Department for bribery. Senator McConnell has been quite good to that subsidiary — this year alone he’s requested seventeen million dollars in earmarks for its Louisville facility. Yes, the sun, and the dollar signs, shine bright in Senator McConnell’s old Kentucky home.

Let’s face it, two political parties; equal opportunity hypocrites.

That’s it for the Journal. Go to our website at PBS.org and click on Bill Moyers Journal. You can read Dr. Margaret Flowers’ letter. You’ll also learn how your state’s laws will be affected by the recent Supreme Court decision. We’ll also link you to websites where the debate rages on.

That’s all at PBS.org.

I’m Bill Moyers. And I’ll see you next time.

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Obama’s Big Wake Up Call

By William Greider, The Nation. Posted January 20, 2010.

The Dems’ loss in Massachusetts put on display the monumental miscalculations by which Obama has governed. Now it’s time for him to change.

Barack Obama went to Boston to rally voters and got a pie in the face. He lost his innocence as the valiant young president and also lost his sixty-vote majority in the Senate. Now we will find out what the man is made of — either a true political leader or just another show horse. Dozens of explanations are being offered for why the Dems were humiliated in Massachusetts. Democrats incline to grab easy answers. The president, if he is tough enough, will instead face the hard message of this political fiasco.

The special election displayed monumental miscalculations by which Obama has governed, both in priorities and political-legislative strategies. It may seem perverse and unfair, but the president’s various actions for reform generated a vaguely poisonous identity. Amid the general suffering, Obama is widely seen as collaborating with two popular villains — the me-first bankers and over-educated policy technocrats of the permanent governing elite. Obama made nice with the bankers and loaded up his administration with Harvard policy wonks who really don’t know the country. These malignant associations gain traction because people see there are grains of truth in observable reality.

On Sunday, I listened on the radio to Obama’s soaring speech at Northeastern University and remembered again why his oratory first took the nation to the mountaintop. His attack lines lashing bankers and insurance companies were fluid and tough, shouted repetitively over the rising cheers. His diction was loosely colloquial. He dropped the hard g’s to get down with the folks. Too little, too late, I figured. He is still masterful, but this is performance, not substance. People grasp the difference between the two. This gulf will imprison Obama as a stereotype for weakness, a joke on late-night TV, if he doesn’t change.

The humiliation, I decided, could become a good thing for this presidency if it forces Obama to rethink his political strategy and rearrange his governing order. For all his brains and talent, for all the brainy people around him, the Obama White House seems tone-deaf and blind on many aspects of the popular reality. Too full of itself to listen closely. Too condescending to recognize the rage and fear are about more than right-wing frothers.

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In the 1998 midterms, Democrats actually gained seats. A rare thing for the president’s party to pick up congressional seats in a second midterm election. Nevertheless, the Democrats won the day and Republicans lost a net five seats.

Take a guess how the Republicans responded. Naturally, they freaked out like infants and demanded that the party shift to the center, you know, where it’s safe — abandoning their congressional agenda in lieu of safe, small beans policy. Then they waited for all of the Democrats to be seated before they moved any votes to the floor. You know, just to be fair.

Wait, no. That’s what the Democrats are doing in the aftermath of the Massachusetts special election.

The Republicans, in the days immediately after being “thumped” in the midterms, didn’t make pee-pee in their big boy pants. They didn’t freak out and reevaluate their agenda or crawl back to moderate Democrats for additional support.

The Republicans impeached the president.

Before anyone was sworn in, the Republican House of Representatives voted to impeach President William Jefferson Clinton on December 19, 1998.

Hey, Democrats. Do you like apples?

Now, I’m not suggesting that the Democrats should suddenly race around trying to quickly remove Republicans who have engaged in nefarious underpants parties. (I’m looking at you, John Ensign — who voted for impeachment, by the way.)

I’m just suggesting that the Democrats find their mysteriously vanishing spines, and right quick.

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Kerry: ‘The only thing Republicans say yes to are Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, tea partiers, and Fox News.’

Think Progress- By Faiz Shakir at 8:15 am

Campaigning for Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Martha Coakley on Friday, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) took a shot [at] the “party of no.” Kerry argued that while Democrats in Congress and the Obama administration focused on governing for the past year, “the Republicans did nothing but say no.” After ticking off a list of items the Republicans have opposed, Kerry concluded:

They made a calculated political decision that they would say no to governance, create anger, and then let the anger fall on those who are struggling to make the choices and these tough decisions. And now, they have the gall to want to receive a bonus for doing it.

Well my friends, the only things the Republicans say yes to are Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, tea partiers, and Fox News.

Watch it:

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