Archive for come on Democrats

Beating the Kochs: Dems get it-- Turnout, turnout, turnout. Show UP! #GOTV

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vote  turnout  gotv

The media is feeding feelings of growing panic among Democrats about losing the Senate in November, to which Dems are finally responding with one word: Turnout. This is a good thing. This is a very good and healthy thing, not just this November, but for every election ever. Without a huge voter turnout, Democrats lose, but when turnout efforts are successful, we generally win.

Here at TPC and on Twitter, I've been on a mini-campaign on this very thing. As Harry Reid so wisely framed it recently, Ridiculously Big Huge Enormous Gigantic Money (read: the Koch brothers) is a major obstacle that we must overcome. And that point underscores all kinds of issues that Democrats are passionate about, such as income inequality, the wealth gap, increasing the minimum wage, equal pay for women, and more. Targeting the Kochs gives voters something on which to laser focus and channel those passions.

And when voters are passionate, they make beelines (and long lines, and slow lines, thanks to GOP voter suppression laws) to the polls, and at this point, that is our best remedy. The Kochs may have tons of money, but we have tons of people. They have monetary power, we have people power... as long as we show up.

The Los Angeles Times' Michael Memoli and David Lauter wrote about that very thing:

Faced with a strong prospect of losing control of the Senate in November, Democrats have begun a high-stakes effort to try to overcome one of their party's big weaknesses: voters who don't show up for midterm elections.

The party's Senate campaign committee plans to spend $60 million to boost turnout. That's nine times what it spent in the last midterm election, in 2010. [...]

"Disgruntled voters turn out at a somewhat higher rate than what I like to call the gruntled voters," said Alan Abramowitz, an Emory University political scientist.

However, there are a couple of catches:

But Democrats disagree on how populist an image to present. Some advocate a turn toward the left that they say will spur younger and minority voters to take interest in the election. Others argue for a more centrist tack, which might attract more moderate voters.

Mitch Stewart, who was the battleground-states director for Obama's 2012 campaign, said, "The conventional wisdom is that you don't start contacting voters until after Labor Day, [but that's] an outdated model." He couldn't be more correct about that. The time is now to knock on doors, make calls, email, you name it, in order to educate and inspire voters.

Why now? Because "motivating core parts of the Democratic voter base, particularly younger and less educated voters, is not easy." I can vouch for that. Trying to get young voters to pay attention to politics, especially during midterm elections, is, well, challenging. I've tried, and while their first impulse is to respond enthusiastically, they often lapse into:

UP squirrel dog animated gif

Terry McAuliffe, like him or not, had the right idea when he won the Virginia gubernatorial race. He emphasized issues that Dems cared about, like Medicaid, marriage equality, and women's reproductive rights. He also targeted those who only voted occasionally.

But of course, that costs money, which brings us full circle to the Kochtopus. Again, though, they may have the money, but we have the numbers.

We can do this, but we must, MUST, register to vote, do everything we can to help others register and then get to the ballot box, and never, ever acquiesce to Big Corporate Money or the Corporate Media, both of which thrive on manipulating the message and pushing meaningless speculation.

Below are four words that are both meaningful and our most urgent message:

gotv 3

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Cartoon of the Day: Squishy Democrats v the GOP advantage, 2014

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vote  squishy Democrats gotv

If so-called squishy Democrats don't get their act together, then this country will be in a world of trouble. In a previous post, Our country is sick with the cancer of Conservatism. This may be your last warning, liberals, @Marnus3 approprtiately sounds a very timely alarm:

So this may be your last warning, liberals. Our country is sick with the cancer of Conservatism. Much has been lost in the time since 2008, when we felt so good about our health. But like cancer of the body, there is always hope when there is life. It is getting late, but it is not too late. Pay attention, educate yourself on the issues, do the same for your friends and neighbors. Tweet a tweet, warn your Facebook friends, volunteer for a liberal candidate, and most of all, vote this November. Vote like your life depends on it, because at this late stage of the disease, it does.

That's been my mantra, too, for some time now. If we fail to Get Out The Vote (GOTV) in November, the consequences will be dire, and even worse, lasting.

This tweet just showed up in my stream:

My answer: Gerrymandering and passion (not to mention voter suppression). Republicans, especially conservatives, have one talent that squishy Democrats and Progressives might want to adopt: Generating votes by triggering strong emotions (in the case of the GOP, fear) among their often-un/misinformed supporters. But in order to inspire voters, we need a strong, clear message that hits home.

However, and this is a huge "however," younger voters (along with everyone else) need to listen, and hear, that strong, clear message. After having taught teens and twentysomethings for well over a decade, I can assure you that this is a major challenge.

The pattern I noticed most was how driven and enthusiastic students could be when motivated... but that drive and enthusiasm was ephemeral. The second something else got their attention, off they'd go, leaving their good intentions in the dust:

UP squirrel dog animated gif

In this post, I concentrated primarily on the youth vote.

Take a look at David Horsey's excellent L.A. Times cartoon below. Then please go here to read his accompanying article, "Latinos, single women, young voters: a squishy base for Democrats," in which he expands on the topic in more depth:

david horsey cartoon 2014 elections squishy Democrats

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When Democrats act like right wing trolls

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rant alert

I'm trying my best to follow Doctor's orders, I really am. I'm staying away from the computer for a good part of the day, I write 90% fewer posts than I used to, and when I do write, I concentrate on more upbeat news stories.

However.

For months-- no, make that years-- it's been impossible to escape from the tea party style, trolly behavior of many so-called "Democrats" on Twitter, in TPC Comments, and on Facebook. And yes, many of these people are really, truly left leaning, not conservatives in blue sheep's clothing.

Let's start with this old chestnut: Over the years, I've been called an "EmoProg," which is supposed to be some kind of terrible, poison dart insult, the ultimate slur that can be hurled at you by a fellow Dem. My pal over at FreakOutNation, @Anomaly100, and I have mocked this lunacy by calling our selves MEmos ( adding "me" to "emo" to fake-narcisstically own our apparent evil EmoProgitude).

I've never been quite sure what EmoProg means, but per Urban Dictionary, in part:

Emo Progressive (or "emoprog") is a self-described liberal or progressive, often with libertarian leanings, whose political orientation is to be angry, dissatisfied and unhappy with the state of the nation at any given time, because in their view, liberal policies are not being implemented quickly or forcefully enough. They have particular contempt for Democratic presidents.

Emoprogs are ideological purists who disdain compromise and incremental change, which they see as "selling out" liberal ideas like full employment, an end to all wars, state secrets, and liberal social policy...

Emoprogs have a strong affinity for 3rd party politics as a way to punish Democratic presidents. They are especially hostile to President Obama and deem anyone who expresses a lack of ill will toward him to be "Obamabots" and enemies of liberalism.

I've also been called an "Obamabot," which as you can see is the opposite of an EmoProg, so go figure. That's how utterly inane and infantile these labels are. They're also destructive, damaging to party unity, toxic, and resolve nothing. In fact, for those who claim to be so "inclusive," this kind of name-calling is sure a funny way of displaying their "tolerance" of others.

There can be disagreement within a party without resorting to this kind of immaturity. We share the same goals, ultimately, so zinging hostile labels at political allies, alienating them instead of working together whenever possible, is at best self-defeating.

Next, and I'm putting this in all caps because I want to scream this loudly, and a few words on a page won't suffice:

PLEASE STOP USING THE WORD "RETARD" AND STOP USING "TARD" AS A SUFFIX.

Again, so-called "inclusive" Dems using that word as a slur is utterly counterproductive, very offensive, and plain stupid. Or ignorant. Or both. Even readers/followers I adore use it. Most stop when I explain what I'm about to write next:

I worked with special ed students for years when I taught high school theater classes. I challenge anyone who uses the R Word or suffix to look any of those dear, innocent kids in the eye and say that directly to them or within earshot of them, and then not feel like a total ass as they see the hurt and bewilderment on the sweet faces that stare back.

Are "liberal" vocabularies so limited that no other words are accessible? Words that don't sting? Words that don't devalue people with real feelings who matter and take things to heart just as you and I do? Really?

And finally, there's this: Yesterday I had a very pleasant Twitter exchange with a *gasp!* Republican TV and print commentator who shall remain nameless. In fact, I have a few far right followers who I get along with, but who I never ever discuss politics with. Our conversations are strictly goofy or personal or about movies, TV, dogs, vacations, that kind of thing. But not politics. Our mutual heads would explode if we did that.

In fact, I detest their politics at worst, and strongly disagree with them at best. But we get along, and one extremely conservative pundit in particular was the very first to "be there" for me (privately in Direct Messages) when my dad first became ill and then supported me all the way through to my father's death. I value that in a person, no matter what their beliefs or politics.

After my quippy back and forth with Mr. GOP Commentator, a follower (who I am happy to say I never followed back) called me "self-righteous" and "muted" me because I dared to engage someone who he (and I) vehemently disagreed with about the Affordable Care Act.

Call me EmoProg-- or is it Obamabot?-- but I am able to compartmentalize and remain friendly with people who are kind to me, who enjoy tweet talk now and then, who have a sense of humor, and who give me no reason to block them. If I eventually find them to be offensive or distasteful, I unfollow or block, that is my choice.

But come on, "Dems" or "liberals" or "Progressives" or "Obama supporters" or whoever you are, grow up. Throwing insults out of the blue, initiating convos only to be rude because I occasionally chat with someone whose point of view we both find objectionable is not exactly true to our Big D Democratic values.

In fact, it's more tea party than it is Dem. And that kind of behavior is intolerable.

words matter

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A video anthology of #GOPcruelty and obstruction

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GOP obstruction 4 charts

The above charts are from the Rachel Maddow segment below. They illustrate the GOP obstruction of major pieces of legislation that are wildly popular among all parties. And here are a few examples of GOP cruelty:

  • Education cuts
  • Government shutdown
  • Food stamps cuts
  • Women's health services cuts
  • Sequestration, austerity
  • Forty-plus attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act
  • Anti-immigration, anti-DREAMers
  • Voter suppression
  • Anti-gay rights

Please take the time to watch the three videos below all the way through.

Please realize what we're up against.

Please make others aware of the infantile, self-serving, appallingly inexplicable behavior, policies, and politics of the Republican party. They may not be able to win national elections, but they've managed to redistrict in enough states to win locally, in state legislatures, and congressional races, resulting in bad laws and very conservative courts that make decisions that support those bad laws.

If this upsets you as much as it does me, then you know what to do: Vote. And in 2014, get out the vote and help people get to the polls. Until then, educate everyone you can, assist as many people as possible with registration, and above all, never EVER keep your mouths shut. Be clear. Be loud. Be heard.

This is becoming all out political war, and we-- and democracy as we know/knew it-- can't afford to lose:

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Chris Hayes did a segment on what Republicans are giddily calling "Obama's Katrina" and he called them out on several things, including their shameful gloating:

I find myself pissed off at just about everyone... But most of all, I'm quite simply appalled as I watch a Republican party and conservative movement not even pretend to hide their glee and schadenfreude over problems with the law they have done everything in their power to to sabotage, destroy, and discredit...

What the hell is wrong with you?

The only path left is to [go] forward. No retreat, no surrender, no. Going. Back. The only way out is through.

In one clip, Jon Stewart summed it up perfectly:

The crazy part is, it's conservatives and Republicans that are in the biggest rush to make the comparisons: "Remember that terrible thing that Bush did, that we fought for eight years to convince you wasn't bad, but actually good? Well now we use those very incidents as the low water mark for your guy!"

Rachel Maddow takes it from there:

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The other day I posted, John "I See No Need for ENDA" Boehner welcomes anti- #LGBT group to Capitol Hill.

Rachel covered that in more detail and expanded the discussion into an overview of how infuriatingly destructive and obstructive the GOP is:

... [ENDA] never will become law, as long as John Boehner will not allow it to be voted on in the House, and he says that that is his decision. If that bill did come up for a vote in the House, it would most certainly pass. It is a really popular thing. ...

It's favored by a huge proportion of Democrats and a huge proportion of Independents and also by a really big proportion of Republicans. 60% of Republican voters support this. A big, bright, clear majority of Republican voters wants our country to have a law like this. But Republicans in Congress won't let it happen.

And it turns out that that exact dynamic holds on a bunch of things right now in Washington.

John Boehner again this week insists he would also not allow a vote on immigration reform. And just like the nondiscrimination bill, immigration reform is super, super, super popular...

The only people who do not want it are John Boehner and presumably some other House Republicans. But they're against everybody else in the country. They're completely against public opinion on this issue, including the public opinion of Republicans.

They're also completely against public opinion on the issue of the minimum wage....

On background checks for guns, right? Background checks for guns are supported by 81% of Americans, broadly speaking. Background checks had huge support among Democrats, among Independents, and look, among Republicans. Expanded background checks for gun purchases are supported by gun owners. Expanded background checks are supported by NRA members. But these guys in Congress, the Republicans in congress, say no....

Remember the Buffett Rule that said billionaires shouldn't pay lower tax rates than their secretaries? Democrats support that, Independents support that, Republicans support that. It's just the Republicans in Congress who say no, even though their own voters like the idea.... Republicans in Congress will not allow an issue like that to even be voted on, even though their own voters want it...

This is what is called a pattern. In representative democracy, if you are in an elected office and if you pursue policies that are very unpopular, and you block policies that are very popular, something is supposed to happen to you.

It's like the elephant in the elephant's room. Republican policy ideas, both in terms of what they like, but especially what they don't like, Republican policy ideas are very, very, very, very strongly at odds with the views of the American people, with even most Republican voters.

They believe they have one winning issue on health reform, where their opposition to the president's health reform law is closer to public opinion on that issue, which is still in flux. They think it's closer on that issue than it is every other major policy issue in the country right now where they stand against the rule of the public and even the rule of their own voters.

Why don't they pay a higher cost for that? And why haven't Democrats figured out a way to make them pay a higher cost for that?

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Rachel also did a segment on Wisconsin Republicans, which again illustrates the nasty, condescending, discriminatory, dangerous attitudes, plans, and heavy-handedness of the party now that they control that state:

This is so strange, I don't even know how to explain it...

... In the legislature, at least, since the Republicans and Governor Scott Walker took over in Wisconsin, it seems more and more like Wisconsin is losing its mind...

Whatever used to be the normal expectations for normal, middle of the road Midwestern governance, those days really are gone. In Wisconsin anyway, those days seem gone.

Shake off any apathy or feeling frozen into inaction due to frustration that you may have and start using your voice. This kind of conduct by the right is no longer an option, and it's up to us to make some very necessary, very urgent changes.

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New Jerseyan: "We all know what a disaster Gov. Chris Christie has been... What were Dems thinking?"

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what's the matter with new jersey

My Twitter friend @marieann66 gets a big hat tip for sending me this link:

Here are excerpts from that must-read letter to the editor at NJ.com:

We have fought and died in the civil rights movement, we have fought for unions and a living wage, we have fought for the rights of women and choice, and we have fought for equal opportunity regardless of gender, sexual orientation, color and religion. Democrats have just re-elected to the governorship of this state someone who is anti-choice, against public education, against raising the minimum wage, against gay marriage and is dedicated to enriching his wealthy friends and patrons.

Real estate taxes are up, unemployment is among the worst in the nation and federal funds for Superstorm Sandy relief have thus far benefited mainly business (as homeowners twist slowly in the wind). This is a giant administrative mess.

I could go on, but we all know what a disaster this governor has been for the state. And let’s not forget that he is trying to pack the state Supreme Court with conservative Republicans.

She started the letter by reminding Democrats that they inexplicably voted against their own interests. She ended the letter, in part, with, "What were Democrats thinking?" What indeed? I have asked the same question over and over and over again:

This is the person who New Jerseyans should have elected to be their governor:

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"Suspending #Obamacare penalties is tantamount to delaying the mandate"

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chill pill

All day, I've been watching, hearing, and reading news reports like this one: More Senate Dems call for Obamacare enrollment extension and lifting the penalty for those who are uninsured.

Well, others, including me, are saying enough already. Seriously, I've had it with all the 24/7 sky-is-falling yakety-yak. I'm talking to you, Senator Feinstein-- who happens to be my senator-- as well as Jeanne Shaheen, Kay Hagan, and Mark Udall, and a few others mentioned at that CNN  link. Calm down and breathe. Or drink. Or smoke. Anything to chill you out and start using your head instead of your emotions, or your donors' money or your own self-interests.

First of all, the Affordable Care Act website at Healthcare.gov, should be running smoothly by the end of November, according to the official now in charge of fixing it. So how about waiting and seeing instead of panicking? We all know things have started off badly, but it's only been three weeks. Chill.

An editorial in today's Los Angeles Times explains why the requirement that adult Americans get covered next year should not be scrapped, and they make a lot of sense. They start out by reminding us that there is still time to make the necessary corrections before the first of the year and to focus on that, as well as on signing up more people for insurance:

Some have responded by suggesting that the administration suspend the penalties for those unable to sign up for subsidized policies, which are available only through the exchanges.

Suspending the penalties is tantamount to delaying the mandate. And if there's no enforceable requirement to buy insurance, many Americans who don't need healthcare immediately won't do so.

The Times goes on to explain that by succumbing to a mandate delay, as the GOP has demanded, an "ever-sicker, costlier pool of customers, ... would cause premiums to spiral upward. Suspending those penalties would only make that result more likely."

The variations being floated by Democrats are just as bad. If HealthCare.gov can't be whipped into shape within the next month or so, the federal government may have to pour resources into other enrollment efforts, such as the phone banks and in-person "navigators" who guide people through the sign-up process. But we're not at that point yet, and won't be for several weeks.

Okay?

relax a little

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Senate Democratic leaders are planning to go on offense on raising taxes

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feeling your cheerios

Dems are feeling their oats.

Via The Hill:

Democrats are planning to capitalize on the Republican Party’s poor handling of the recent fiscal showdown by parlaying it into another legislative victory. Congressional Democrats want Republicans to sign off on $50 billion worth of tax increases to eliminate the sequester’s automatic spending cuts.

Yeah, like that'll happen. But one Democratic aide said the situation looks more promising now because the GOP is feeling the heat "after what they did to the country by following the Tea Party agenda, to show they are willing to come to the table and compromise.” Plus, they think Republicans will feel incentivized because a hunk of the sequester for 2014 will hit defense programs.

Okay Dems go for it, and don't blow this one:

Democrats say they would not accept any budget deal unless it includes tens of billions in new tax revenue. Their opening bid is $1 in new taxes for every $1 in spending cuts to offset the cost of ending sequestration for domestic and defense discretionary spending programs.

House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell undoubtedly are pointing and laughing as we speak. However, Americans don't want them to control the House, but they do want Boehner to go and Obamacare to stay.

So Democrats do have some leverage. And while they're at it...

Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the third-ranking Senate Democratic leader, will propose legislation that would reduce Congress’s authority over raising the debt limit.

It would give the president authority to raise the debt limit and merely allow Congress to vote on a resolution of disapproval to block action.

Yes, please and thank you.

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