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"Absence of a strong wave comes as something of a setback for GOP"

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democracy setback

A report just came out from the Center for the Study of the American Electorate. It confirmed what many of us already knew: that Americans are "staying away from the polls in droves." Not good, not good at all. The prediction is that the midterm primary elections will set record lows in voter turnout. "Who cares?" many of you may be asking. Well, per the Los Angeles Times, that would be a real setback for democracy:

Why does that matter? “It presents a danger to our society insofar as democracy does thrive on the consent and involvement of the governed,” said Curtis Gans, director of the nonpartisan election research center and a decades-long student of voter behavior. “Leadership needs some form of mandate.”

The study says a major factor in the low turnout is a sense of futility: congressional districts consciously drawn to favor one party or the other, which leave many voters wondering why they should bother participating when the outcome is preordained.

Got that? Gerrymandering is a major culprit. Scroll through our many posts on that subject.

gerrymander definition

To repeat, low voter turnout is bad for democracy... and usually bad for Democrats, specifically.

Adjacent to that article was another one about a different kind of setback. It has a somewhat encouraging title (key word: somewhat), No partisan wave building for fall elections, but GOP gains likely:

[F]or now, the absence of a strong wave comes as something of a setback for Republicans, who had hoped earlier this year that the unpopularity of President Obama's healthcare law would guarantee big gains for them.  [...]

The public's dismal view of Congress probably accounts for some of that lack of enthusiasm about voting.

That last sentence is an understatement, IMHO. Our own Sherry Hardy wrote a great post about that here, and I followed up here.

Not a skit, our actual Congress, gaa! Maddow

And from the Timing Is Everything Dep't., Steve Kornacki subbed for Chris Matthews on Hardball and treated us to his own "Let Me Finish" segment in which he opined on the long game for Democrats:

Kornacki:

Right now, at least, it doesn't look like a big Republican wave is building, and it does look like Democrats can at least hold their own this fall. And if they can do that, then it sets up the real battle in 2016...

In 2016, Republicans won't just get to take shots at the White House, they'll have to put up a candidate of their own. They'll have to write a platform of their own, run on an agenda that might not sit that well with most Americans. There could be a huge opportunity for Democrats...

2014 is important to [the Democrats], but 2016? That's the ball game.

You know what to do:

vote  turnout  gotv

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"Not a skit! Our actual Congress! Gaaa!"

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Not a skit, our actual Congress, gaa! Maddow

Our own Sherry Hardy covered Rachel Maddow's edible take-down of the Worst Congress Ever in her post, 'Get Out and Push', Says Maddow of the Useless, U.S. Congress. Maddow went ballistic, and rightfully so. Wowee, do GOP obstructionists suck, and yes, I'm using the official elitist left vernacular. Before going any further, I have to share a couple of the best parts from the segment Sher put up. And by "best" I mean most relatable, because Rachel's Moment of Gaa! was surely felt by many of us. Here are four very short clips (under a minute each) that represent some of her best outbursts. Here she is, blasting Congress to smithereens, and by Congress she meant Republican members thereof:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Maddow:

"Not a skit! Our actual Congress! Gaaa!"

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Maddow:

"This is truly historic failure."

ding ding ding

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

All of this brings us to today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor in which readers responded to former Rep. David Dreier op-ed that was meant "to assure readers that it's not as bad as it seems in Congress. The nearly unanimous response from the nearly two dozen readers who sent us letters: Are you serious?"

Here you go, because our voices matter:

It's been tried many times before, the guilty claiming innocence by accusing the victim.

Dreier does just that. He blames the people for being divided, implying that the members of Congress themselves are not at fault. This is why only 13% of Americans approve of Congress, according to a January Gallup poll. Eighty seven percent of the people being of one mind in their disapproval doesn't sound like division.

Fewer laws have been passed by this Congress than by any other in the last 65 years, and Dreier says it's not really that bad. I think it is time for a reality check.

Frances Pin, Marina del Rey

..

Dreier deludes himself and, even more sadly, us.

We have a do-nothing Congress not because Americans are deeply divided. Important legislative efforts on immigration, the minimum wage and gun control did not die because of deep division, as a large majority of Americans favored these measures.

Is Dreier saying that shutting down the government and threatening its solvency came because of voter division? The failures came because the GOP was listening to the radical tea party members of Congress, who represent a very small minority of the population.

It is self-serving for Dreier to blame the division of the people — actually, insulting.

Jim Hoover, Huntington Beach

..

Dreier states that he is continually asked, "Is Congress completely controlled by big money and special interests?" and "Is it more partisan and dysfunctional than ever before?"

He never answers. Instead he tells us how there are always two opinions to every issue and groups of constituents on both sides.

I have to assume that he avoided answering because the answers are both "yes."

Ted Bacino, Palm Springs

..

Dreier blames the diversity of Americans for Congress' obstructionism.

Of course we are diverse, and we are better off for it. However, when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stated in 2010 that his main goal was for Barack Obama to be a one-term president, he revealed quite clearly what the Republican Party was all about: not diversity, but settling scores.

Robert S. Ellison, Arcadia

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"What Obama needs is a Rob Ford, Francois Hollande moment."

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La Cucaracha blame ObamaVia Lalo Alcaraz

Another snark-filled guest post by the one, the only Will Durst, who's having a little fun with the GOP's Obama Derangement Syndrome. Take it away, Will:

STUCK ON STUCK

“Just following the will of the people.” That’s been the GOP rationalization for accomplishing absolutely nothing for five and a half years. Doesn’t matter what the issue is. Immigration. Jobs. Infrastructure. Climate change. Banking reform. The proliferation of substandard dental schools in Nebraska.

According to them, the people want… zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. And to mask their inaction, Republicans have coordinated a feeding frenzy that would make rabid hyenas jealous.

Something about Obama drives them crazier than chocolate banana fritters with raspberry sprinkles in a bento box. Maybe because he’s the smartest guy in the room and not the least bit shy about sharing that opinion. Maybe he’s the ultimate anti- Bush. Or there’s something about him that looks different. Extremely different. Could be the ears.

What it boils down to is… “Open Season on Obama.” The memos have circulated. The strategy is conspicuous. To derail any possible presidential accomplishment by stalling progress and tossing a continuous slew of dastardly insults onto and at his person. And the mud is flying faster than fingers in a steno pool. Different circus. Same clowns.

John Boehner plans to sue the President. For what? Not even he knows, but you can be sure, the term “smarty pants” will be bandied about. He did drop some tidbit about objecting to the President changing the employer mandate to Obama Care, but that can’t be the source of his irritation, since the GOP insisted on it. It would be like slapping some other family’s child for obeying you.

Dick Cheney called him the Worst President of his lifetime. Which is quite a coincidence, since many argue Dick Cheney was the worst president of Obama’s lifetime. Obama should actually take solace from this charge, since Dick Cheney has been pretty much wrong about pretty much everything since at least 1999.

Sarah Palin called for the POTUS to be impeached. And Sarah Palin demanding punishment of someone for not properly fulfilling an office is another of those “pot with the kettle and the color black” situations the Republicans are so renown. The needle on the irony meter just crazy spun then melted.

Rick Perry accused the President of orchestrating the conspiracy responsible for a deluge of Central American kids crossing the border. And he said it while wearing his new studious looking glasses, so you know he’s serious. Also, the fact he correctly pronounced the word “conspiracy,” is a huge upgrade.

These attacks are perfectly timed to kick the President while he’s down. Right now his approval rating has sunk lower than scorpion- infested, throw- pillows filled with mold spores. Like a tray of hickory smoked baby back ribs at a PETA convention. Tacks in a bath. What Obama needs is a Rob Ford, Francois Hollande moment. A video of him naked, smoking crack with Lindsay Lohan, to go viral.

Republicans even complain Obama is a do- nothing President. With Mitch McConnell stalling every advance in the Senate and the House and Supreme Court lined up against him, it’s a miracle they’re able to get Flag Day commemorations through Congress.

Makes a person worry this political paralysis may be the new normal and we’ll never be able to affect positive change ever again. Instead of the status quo, we got the status no. America has gotten stuck… on stuck.

Copyright ©2014, Will Durst. Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed political comic. Go to willdurst.com to find about more about the new documentary film “3 Still Standing,” and a calendar guide to personal appearances including his new one- man show “BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG.”

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President Obama: We need reforms "from campaign finance to how a filibuster works."

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Mitch McConnell gop obstruction gridlock filibuster reforms

Our government badly needs to advance all kinds of reforms, says you, says I, says President Obama. Major overhauls that would cut through the insanity that is the U.S. Congress are in order.

As most people know by now, the GOP has obstructed virtually every piece of legislation that President Obama and/or the Democrats have proposed, because that was their Big Plan on Inauguration Night 2009. I wrote about that here: GOP plot to obstruct- Obama aide in bed with GOP lover: "How do we get a stimulus deal?" Reply: "Baby, there’s no deal!"

Remember this?

And this?

Republicans set all kinds of records to make their corrupt little dreams come true:

chart filibuster maddow smaller

As a result of all their blockage (and some really bad voting choices by some very anti-Democratic voters), we are stuck with the do-nothingest Congress ever:

chart bills passed by do-nothing Congress

As a result, Senate Democrats pushed through a controversial rules change known as the "nuclear option":

But that rule change wasn't enough, because it only applied to Senate approval of executive and judicial nominees. The GOP is still standing in the way of legislation that would help create jobs, give women equal pay, rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, eliminate voter suppression, pave the way for immigration reform, raise the minimum wage, provide the poor with life-saving programs, you name it.

In other words, Republicans are cutting off democracy and progress at the knees at the expense of the health and welfare of American citizens. They don't care about us, they care about their own agenda based on their usual greed, re-election goals, power, and money.

Here's what President Obama said at a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in New York. Via Roll Call:

“So my main message is one of hope. We’ve got all the ingredients to make this the American Century, just like the last one. To achieve it, though, we’ve got to make sure our political system works better. And, yes, there are all kinds of reforms that we need to do, from campaign finance to how a filibuster works, to going after Republicans hard when their main political agenda when it comes to — or main election strategy is preventing people from voting — we’ve got to push back on all that stuff. But ultimately, there are enough voters out there to deliver if we can turn them out.

And that’s what the DSCC is all about. That’s their priority. That’s my priority. And I hope it becomes yours as well. Thanks.”

That's right, President Obama said that the Senate needs to change campaign finance and "how a filibuster works."

And the GOP needs to change, period.

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