Some Early Mid-Term Election Results

U.S. Governor's Races

In California Jerry Brown has defeated Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina has lost to Barbara Boxer but refuses to concede at this time.

 

U.S. Senate Races

In Nevada Harry Reid has defeated Sharron Angle and the Democratic Party has retained control of the Senate but lost the House.

Meg Whitman Booed At Women’s Conference

(Watch the video)

 

Meg Whitman showed a clear disconnect with California voters when refusing Jerry Brown’s offer of taking down all but the two positive ads from both candidates. People in this state are not looking for the best smear agent, we are looking for the person best qualified for the job as governor.

Another aspect to Whitman’s reaction to this proposal that I have not heard discussed is that of the huge sums of money she has spent on the political attack ads flooding the media–they have effectively committed her to the political strategy of negativity since she decided to make the majority of the ads negative instead of positive. Now that they spent millions trying to convince people the “other” is so awful it would be somewhat like throwing all that money away to suddenly switch stance to a “I’m the better choice” position.

If Whitman was a smart, pragmatic leader she would have taken up Brown on his offer to cut the TV ads down to the two positive ads from each. It appears she lacks the ability to think in terms other than dollar signs, or so it seems.

I find this sort of thing very typical of the conservative-Republican side of things. They never want to actually agree to being held to ethics and standing against the smear season tactics. When the chips are down and both sides are ready to deal on how negative things are getting, it always seems to be the right-winger who simply refuses to make it more civil. Perhaps because they understand that the Republican base seems to be fueled by negativity, scapegoating and fear mongering.

Senate Reconciliation Now!

The Republican obstructionism on the health care reform agenda is not “principled objections” as Senate minority leader Eric Cantor suggests. It is non-principled, pure nihilistic policy of poisoning the well and deception on behalf of conservatives.

The liberal majority that elected Democrats to office in 2008 has spoken.

The Public Option must survive in a final health care bill, and the process of reconciliation between House and Senate bills is the only avenue by which Democratic representatives can claim to have made any “meaningful reform” come reelection time.

Make it clear that this will not go away, and we the liberal progressives will not be silent.

This push did not come from the White House, or the Progressive Caucus, or from the desk of Sen. Harry Reid. This push for a strong public option through reconciliation came from the people who understand that health care is a moral issue, not merely a budgetary issue.

Both President Obama and Senator Reid remain open to the pursuit of Senate reconciliation, but I believe it important to state that this in itself is the “failure to sell health care reform to the American people” I spoke of before.

Instead, we will have to make perfectly clear that the public option must go forward and does not continue to be the “public optional.”

Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced on Friday afternoon that he would work with other Democrats and the White House to pass a public option through reconciliation if that’s the legislative path the party chooses.

The party has spoken. The ball is their court now in congress, but we must not allow this to fade into the night.

Just as Paul Krugman recently closed an op-ed with, “Health Care Reform Now!” I would say the as he except in different words given the changing of the situation but holding the same meaning:

Senate Reconciliation Now!

A Liberal’s Survival Guide

Obama-Other-Newsweek-3

I recommend picking up a copy of Newsweek for yourself. The cover story for the issue of the week of November 2nd 2009 is an excellent piece on President Barack Obama. Anna Quindlen has put to words what I felt to be true since early in the 2008 Presidential Campaign:

Barack Obama campaigned as a populist firebrand but governs like a cerebral consensus builder. The Founding Fathers wouldn’t have it any other way.

Campaigns are bad crucibles in which to forge the future. They speak to great aspirations; government amounts to the dripping of water on stone.

The president is a person of nuance. But on both ends of the political number line, nuance is seen as wishy-washy. There’s no nuance in partisan attacks, soundbites, slogans, which is why Barack Obama didn’t run with the lines “Some change you might like if you’re willing to settle for” or “Yes, we can, but it will take awhile.”

If the American people want the president to be more like the Barack Obama they elected, perhaps they should start acting more like the voters who elected him.

In my personal estimation the liberal-left mainstream view of Barack Obama was overly optimistic as to his clearly stated positions. This situation has altered since the campaign but still seems to maintain elements of previous misconceptions.

This president is entirely unique.

I was adamant about this in the first few months of The Obama Presidency when the media-punditry were attempting to compare Obama to another American President of the recent past. The only comparisons to draw are poor ones.

Many attempt to call The Obama Presidency a “centrist” presidency. I believe this is only in part true and better descriptions would be “staunchly bipartisan” or “consensus builder” as to what we see of The White House of 2009.

Ultimately, I myself am far too left-wing to support every Obama Policy. I am certainly left-wing enough to vote for him, but in the instance of national health care reform I would seek to isolate the insurance giants in the face of the bipartisan concept of bringing them to the table.

I would seek to remind readers that The Founders had many ideological differences between them and while they surely would approve of the goal of consensus building, I believe some would argue that party loyalty or campaign kick-backs mean nothing in the face of protecting the general welfare of the people of The United States.

Allow me to put forth my view on The Founding Fathers as it applies to the proposed health care reform in the U.S.:

A single-payer bill, like H.R. 676, might be scientifically approved but does not incorporate the spirit of incrementalism that is key to sound reform. If one was to augment the “single-payer” model of this bill into a national health care insurance option for citizens ages zero to sixty-five, included the Dennis Kucinich Amendment in which states can opt-in to a single-payer system, and included the Harry Reid Proposal in which the states can opt-out of the national option within a single piece of legislation; this unwritten bill would be within the true desires of the framers of The U.S. Constitution.

I can only see two clear flaws in Barack Obama as president, thus far.

Handing health care to the Congress was a bad move.

Isolating the giant of media-misinformation when there are other offenders within the spheres of foe-news.

Both of these are purely strategic flaws and amount to simple criticism and nothing more on my behalf.

On the matter of his appointments I believe what I was speaking on before comes around once again. It’s not a fair assessment to call it a “liberal” cabinet but rather a “bipartisan” cabinet, or “centrist” if you must.

We didn’t elect the liberal-firebrand that came to destroy the GOP and tear down the corporate empire.

We elected Barack Obama.

Truth About Lobbyists and Interest Groups

“One study of eighty-three (primarily liberal) public-interest groups found that one-third of them received half or more of all their funds from foundation grants; one-tenth received over 90 percent from such sources. In one ten year period the Ford Foundation alone contributed about $21 million to liberal public-interest groups. Many of these organizations were law firms that, other than staff members, had no members at all. The Environmental Defense Fund is supported almost entirely by grants from foundations such as the Rockefeller Family Fund. The more conservative Scaife foundations gave $1.8 million to a conservative public-interest group, the National Legal Center for the Public Interest.” [Wilson, DiIulio 2008]

The concept of using public interest groups to promote the agendas and ideals of a movement is, by this source, not exclusive to the liberal movement but heavily favored by it thus far.

President-elect Barack Obama may ultimately isolate himself from major liberal movement members if the proposed audit of Washington politics were to take a lasting toll on the liberal lobbies. The next four years will certainly answer just how far this coming administration is willing to go to remove corruption in public interest group finance and practice, but four years from now there will also once again be a national referendum on the highest office.

Should the effort ultimately take power from once strong lobbies for popular liberal agendas, the informed American Democratic Voter could potentially face a struggle at the polls when considering a vote for the incumbent President.

The power of an interest-group, in a classic design, should expand as the number of members and contributors expands. The ‘funded & unoccupied lobby’ described in quote above as a law firm is a critical element of what causes the real disruptions in Washington politics.

The figures and organizations that form the American lobbies and public-interest groups of today are not necessarily the root of the problem so much as the agendas of the highest funded public interest groups overriding the highest agendas of the wills of the people.

If the National Legal Center for the Public Interest (a weak lobby) were to receive a large increase in both number of members and in contributions. they should rightly increase in the voice and recognition in Washington and receive foundation grants in turn.

If the Environmental Defense Fund (a strong lobby) were to lose both member and public support their voice as a lobby should rightly decrease and even though they do not receive a majority in foundation grants they should be kept from taking them if they lacked any significant support in the public domain.

This is all within a classic definition of how the public interest groups should work. Any number of factors can increase or decrease the power of a single lobby and for this reason most of us limit our discussion on public-interest groups, or lobbies, to the number of members that are well-known or outspoken and the money behind the group.

Lobbyists are not are always motivated by ill or by good, despite the fact the lobby they work for is focused on a critical social issue or an important national matter that concerns you–or perhaps for a group with which you disagree strongly.

To speak broadly, they are like salesmen of political stances a person in Washington should take.

They are not invested into the case they are making in every single case but rather deliver the best argument in favor of the lobby that they can devise.

Politicians and lobbyists are very much the same, in many ways.

Without means to search the hearts of others to know for sure if they really believe what they contend or if they are simply going with the popular ideology to gain your favor, we will never know for certain if they stand for the people or if they stand for their own private interests.
We can only judge their actions in office as solid statements of policy.

Eric Lightborn

http://americapress.wordpress.com/

December 2008

Tea Party Folks Did Not Vote In ‘08

obamacowboy

“I was actually black before the election.”

— President Barack Obama

I well aware of how vastly arrogant my headline for this post is.

I’m not a TEA Party (“Taxed Enough Already”) person, nor a right-winger, nor a libertarian, nor a fringe radical. But I actually pay attention to both sides of the political spectrum, in fact all sides of the political spectrum, and I do it on my own without relying on the work of others to decipher it all for me.

I am stepping outside of my ‘box’ here, but what I’m telling you is based off of real comments of real people who didn’t get paid more if they screamed louder or lied harder.

And these people enraged with everything Obama does or says did not vote. Period.

They all sat home and decided that it was all a wash. Or the vast majority of them did at least. Maybe a few voted for the anti-American psychopath Alan Keyes.

Now Obama came out to say, in a very clever way, that the animosity against him is political and not racial.

I think very likely this is, for the most part, completely accurate.

A lot of these people are so angry because they didn’t vote. And that’s really it. There isn’t a lot more to understand.

Sure they are ‘anti-government‘, but not really. They are only anti-government when the government is run by mainly Democrats and their hatred for the government dissolves as soon as the Republicans are in power. It’s laughable and complete partisanship, but also not racist in any form.

The issue of this modern strain of racism is far more subtle and far more disguised than something so simple as overt anti-black statements.

This is part of why the rightwing cannot process the words of Jimmy Carter.

His courageous words involved looking at the world in more than a black-and-white, on-and-off, bumper sticker mentality. One must dabble in nuance and undercurrents to come to this conclusion.

It’s rather simple:

Some white people in this country are not willing to share power with non-whites.

If you actually read Carter’s comments, that is exactly what he said.

And it would be deplorable and insane if President Barack Obama was going to back up the words of Jimmy Carter. That would be completely wrong-headed and bad for the country.

So this whole issue has been a-swing-and-a-miss in terms of the conservative response to these charges. They constantly imply that Carter said that all rejection of Obama is based on race and everyone political knows that such a statement is completely false.

This example here of the TEA Party people and how they in fact placed no trust in democracy whatsoever during the election and then want to place faith in democracy through protest at this stage is just one of many examples that shows that it‘s not all racial motives.

Basically they came late to table and that’s part of their extreme bitterness. They are quite angry with themselves for the nonsense they were spouting, that I was listening to, that voting was completely pointless. Now they really wish they had gotten out there.

The big point a lot of people on the left fail to make about all this is that it is the failure to reject racialists like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and the failure to reject McCarthyist claims, that started long before Glenn Beck started repeating them, is the best example of racism in The Republican Party.

The howling silence from major ticket Republicans in regards to race-baiting and McCarthyism running wild in their party is pretty much the best evidence that exists that not only was Carter right, he understated the problem.

But I’m no brazen fool, I know exactly what I’m asking the GOP to do. I want them to throw away the Southern White Racists and throw away the White Nationalists, both of which really do vote Republican. So my request is for them to throw away votes.

And they won’t do that. Especially not now that they are wounded, limping party relying on media hounds to do CPR to their wrinkled husk.

But it’s about doing what is right for the country even when that might not be what is best for the party.

And this complete unwillingness to even admit that a boil of festering racism exists upon the fringe of the rightwing, makes me think that perhaps this veiled racism against any non-white leadership is actually present in a vast majority of cases.

Something Carter never said. Something I’ve never heard anyone say whatsoever.

But when many people won’t even explain why they believe Carter was mistaken and all they do is engage in bigoted insults against him, misrepresent what he said and just plain arrogantly insult anyone who backs Carter up; it truly does the beg the question if they just view the matters from a different lens or if they actually are so enraged because they know these statements are true and cannot abide by it being discussed openly in public.

Iran Explodes with Unrest

Huffington Post has the latest updates on the Iranian situation.

I would draw your attention to the final video on the post: “12:17 AM ET — Awe-inspiring courage.”