How the Democrats Can Avoid Going Down This November
: The new science of Democratic survival
"Accordingly, field operations have been transformed from busywork for volunteers into the most rigorously scientized corner of the trade.
It's time for Americans to gather around the dinner table, eat too much, and argue about politics! A new genre of Thanksgiving-themed web pages seems to be taking off this year, that being the "How to argue with your [opposite political party] family members at Thanksgiving" genre. From the left side of the political spectrum, the Democratic National Committee has launched "The Democrat's Guide to Talking Politics with Your Republican Uncle
", and The Huffington Post chimed in with "Here's Every Argument You'll Need To Win Your Obamacare Debate This Thanksgiving
". Not to be outdone, conservatives have responded with cheat sheets of their own, including RedState.com's "Thanksgiving dinner with your liberal relatives
" and The Washington Examiner's "The Thanksgiving guide to making conservative arguments liberals can understand
". [more inside]
Happy Political Clusterf*ck Day (U.S.)
In one corner: the first federal government shutdown
, born of the House GOP/Tea Party faction's
crusade to delay, defund, and destroy Obamacare (and the Democratic Senate and President's resolve to not do that
have ping-ponged between the two houses, fighting over language to cancel healthcare reform (plus a few other items, such as the implementation of Mitt Romney's entire economic agenda
). National parks are closed
, contractors are hamstrung
, and 800,000 federal workers furloughed
until Speaker Boehner drops the "Hastert Rule"
and passes a bill the other branches can agree to.
In the other corner, heedless of the chaos
(though not without glitches
of its own): the official rollout of the Affordable Care Act and its state insurance exchanges
. The portal at Healthcare.gov
is your one-stop shop for browsing, comparing, and purchasing standardized, regulated insurance coverage
with premium rebates
, guaranteed coverage
, and expanded Medicaid for the poor (in some states)
. A crazy day, overall -- but peanuts compared to what might happen if the debt ceiling is breached in 16 days
. [more inside]
President Barack Obama will tonight give the first State of the Union address of his second term in office.
The address will again
focus strongly on the issues of jobs and the economy.
The Republican response will be delivered by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and will focus on traditional Republican messages of lower taxes and spending
. The bilingual Senator plans to give his remarks in both English and Spanish
in an attempt to reach out to the Latino community which has proven difficult for Republican politicians to connect with.
There will also be a Tea Party response delivered by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Senator Paul will call for
reduced spending and debt and for the Republican party to be more welcoming of immigrants. Jill Stein of the Green Party
will also give a response. [more inside]
Obama won Ohio by two points, and Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown won by five, but Democrats emerged with just four of Ohio’s 16 House seats. In Wisconsin, Obama prevailed by seven points, and Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin by five, but their party finished with just three of the state’s eight House seats. In Virginia, Obama and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine were clear victors, but Democrats won just three of the commonwealth’s 11 House seats. In Florida, Obama eked out a victory and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson won by 13 points, but Democrats will hold only 10 of the Sunshine State’s 27 House seats. The Revenge of 2010
: How gerrymandering saved the congressional Republican majority
, undermined Obama's mandate
, set the terms of the sequestration fight
, and locked Democrats out of the House for the next decade
. It's not a new problem
. But if the Supreme Court guts the Voting Rights Act
, it could get a whole lot worse
. And the electoral college may
. (What's gerrymandering, you ask? Let the animals explain. Meet the Gerry-mander. Peruse the abused. Catch the movie. Or just play the game. Previously.)
And think about it for a second: this is bizarre. If Americans are in fact divided between two extremely different political ideologies, it would be an extraordinary coincidence if each of those philosophies were to hold the allegiance of nearly equal blocs of support. [more inside]
is a longtime sportswriter and author who has, among other things, reported for Grantland
, and the Boston Globe
, paneled on more than a few games
of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!
, and fished diapers out of trees
as a state forest ranger. He's also made a name for himself as one of the sharpest and most incisive political columnists since Molly Ivins. The lead writer for Esquire's Politics Blog
ever since a caustic article
on former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell cost him his Globe job
, Pierce has churned out an uninterrupted stream of clever, colorful, and challenging commentary
on the 2012 election season and its implications for the nation's future, dispatches often seething with eviscerative anger but shot through with deep love of (or perhaps grief for) country. Look inside for a selection of Pierce's most vital works for some edifying Election Eve reading. [more inside]
In less than an hour, the Supreme Court will hand down its final judgment in what has become one of the most crucial legal battles of our time: the constitutionality of President Obama's landmark health care reform law.
The product of a strict party line vote following a
of debate, disinformation
, and tense legislative wrangling, the Affordable Care Act
would (among other popular reforms
) require all Americans to buy insurance coverage by 2014, broadening the risk pool
for the benefit of those with pre-existing conditions.
The fate of this "individual mandate," bitterly opposed by Republicans despite its similarity to past plans touted by conservatives
(including presidential contender Mitt Romney
) is the central question facing the justices today
. If the conservative majority takes the dramatic step
of striking down the mandate, the law will be toothless, and in danger of wholesale reversal, rendering millions uninsured
, dealing a crippling blow to the president's re-election hopes, and possibly endangering the federal regulatory state
But despite the pessimism of bettors
, some believe
the Court will demur, wary of damaging
its already-fragile reputation
with another partisan 5-4 decision
. But those who know don't talk, and those who talk don't know
. Watch the SCOTUSblog liveblog
for updates, Q&A, and analysis as the truth finally comes out shortly after 10 a.m. EST.
"You want to be a pitchman for warlords? You want to carry the Devil's water in Washington? Go for it. But just don't tell me how to fucking talk" - Jon Lovett responds
to Lanny Davis
, in the aftermath of the Corey Booker's comments defending private equity
This morning marked day two of marathon proceedings
in what's likely the most momentous
Supreme Court case since Bush v. Gore
: the effort to strike down President Obama's landmark health care reform law
. While yesterday was a sleepy affair of obscure technical debate
, today's hearings targeted the heart of the law -- the individual mandate
that requires most Americans to purchase insurance by 2014. With lower courts delivering a split decision
before today, administration lawyers held some hope that at least one conservative justice
could be persuaded to uphold the provision, which amortizes the risk that makes universal coverage possible
. But after a day of deeply skeptical questioning
by swing justice Anthony Kennedy
and his fellow conservatives [transcript
], the mandate looks to be in grave trouble
, with CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin going as far as calling the day "a train wreck"
for the administration. But it's far from a done deal
, with a third day
of hearings tomorrow and a final decision not expected until June.
...Many Republicans are already looking past 2012. If either Romney or Santorum gains the nomination and then falls before Obama, flubbing an election that just months ago seemed eminently winnable, it will unleash a GOP apocalypse on November 7—followed by an epic struggle between the regulars and red-hots to refashion the party. And make no mistake: A loss is what the GOP’s political class now expects. “Six months before this thing got going, every Republican I know was saying, ‘We’re gonna win, we’re gonna beat Obama,’ ” says former Reagan strategist Ed Rollins. “Now even those who’ve endorsed Romney say, ‘My God, what a fucking mess.’ ”
John Heilemann in New York Magazine
on "The Lost Party"
, part one of a series on the modern Republican party in light of the 2012 presidential election. [more inside]
Robert Reich writes today: My political prediction for 2012 (based on absolutely no inside information): Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden swap places
. Biden becomes Secretary of State -- a position he's apparently coveted for years. And Hillary Clinton, Vice President [more inside]
Red money, blue money: The making of the 2012 campaign.
"More than 80 percent of giving to Super PACs so far has come from just 58 donors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics analysis of the latest data, which covers the first half of 2011." This Salon piece details who the (surprisingly small) number of large donors are, and the SuperPACs they donate to.
After weeks of fake primaries
, fraudulent mailers
, special interest moneybombs
, and last-minute attempts at voter suppression
, Wisconsinites went to the polls yesterday in an unprecedented
round of six recall elections targeted mainly at Republican state senators for their support of Governor Scott Walker's controversial union-busting agenda
. Five of the six races were called by Tuesday evening, with Democrats taking two of the three they'd need to regain control of the state senate. The lone holdout? A dead heat between incumbent Alberta Darling and challenger Sandy Pasch in District 8 -- the very same district that saw suspicious vote-counting
by conservative Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus unexpectedly tip the balance
towards Walker ally David Prosser late in the crucial state supreme court race this past April
. The protracted count and late-night shift toward Darling coupled with Nickolaus's questionable history
soon prompted Democratic officials to make accusations of fraud
). Control of the senate now lies in the defense of two Democratic seats up for recall next week and the possible wooing of GOP Senator Dale Schultz
, the only Republican to vote against Walker's bill. Walker himself will be eligible for recall next spring
. [more inside]
Draft Tommy Lee Jones for Senate.
Texas’ conservative voters aren’t about to send just any Democrat to the Senate in 2012. Hell, it’s been seventeen years since a Democrat has won any statewide race here. That’s quite a record and one we’d like to see broken
. To do that, whoever the Democratic nominee is in 2012 better bring something awfully special to the race. Tommy Lee Jones is the only Democrat (or potential Democrat) who does. His name ID, near-universal popularity, fundraising ability, residence in and love for this state, his success as a cattle rancher, Spanish fluency, his image as a western tough guy
and his impressive academic credentials
would instantly make him the frontrunner, regardless of who the Republicans nominate.
What if the egyptian protesters were democrats?
"In short, if the Egyptian protesters were Democrats, they would have undertaken no revolution. The Democratic Party represents the pervasiveness of elite corporate power; its liberal supporters represent the appropriation of oppositional politics into the neoliberal economies of electoral hegemony; the Egyptian protesters represent a determined, collective will to social justice and legitimate freedom. If those protesters were American liberals, they would have sided with the state while professing support for the people."
It's Election Day in America
, and as is so often the case in this fickle
land, the results of the 2010 midterm elections are up in the air. Although President Obama's party is expected to suffer significant losses, record numbers of districts remain competitive
, and even minute errors in polling could mean the difference between a historic Republican landslide
and an unexpectedly robust Democratic defense
. At stake are control of not just the Senate and House, but myriad state and local offices, many of which will play key roles in the dynamics of the 2012 presidential race -- and, more subtly but no less crucially, the once-in-a-decade congressional redistricting
process. Much uncertainty surrounds the behavior of the electorate -- how many will turn out, and how informed will they be? To help move those statistics in the right direction, look inside for voter guides, national and state fact checkers, and an assortment of other resources to keep tabs on as the results roll in. [more inside]
Daniel Davies writes on not being obliged to vote Democrat, parts one
, and three
Vic Rawl has filed a protest against the man who beat him in the South Carolina Democratic primary for the US Senate.
The official reason is election irregularities, however at the core of the protest is the fact that the winner Alvin Greene is a complete unknown with no prior experience. He won the primary despite the fact that he has no campaign headquarters or material and in fact did not seem to campaign at all. Also curious is the pending criminal case in which he is accused of showing a pornographic website to a college student. Mr. Greene does not come across particularly well in interviews
and CNN interviewer Don Lemon even went so far as to question his mental health
and called it one of the most bizarre interviews he's ever had. So is this Republican tampering as many observers are accusing
? (FiveThirtyEight weighs in)
Did South Carolina voters give him the (59%-41%) victory because they thought he was Al Green, soul music's most insinuating singer?
Or perhaps these are the wrong questions and we should be focusing on Alvin Greene's platform: jobs, better education for children and justice.
Do you feel disappointed in government? Does Obama seem a little too meek for the Presidency? Do you wish he'd make larger structural reforms? Maybe, suggests Matt Taibbi, there's an answer
. [more inside]
Can the Democrats get a foothold on the religious vote?
Want to live it up at the U.S. party conventions and get access to Senators and Congressmen? USA Today
has posted the campaign committee price lists:
If you've got the dough, you may conveniently request a convention package
online from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
The National Republican Congressional Committee
and the NRSC
on their sites, but it seems like the DSCC and DCCC
sites keep theirs under wraps.
The week started off in classic campaign form: a report
of remarks made by Obama
percolated through the media
and came to dominate the news cycle. In typically circular fashion, the exhaustive coverage came to provide its own justification, as journalists covered the controversy
that they had largely created... [more inside]
The hidden factor in Hillary Clinton's rebound:
committed Republicans voting in open primaries who want to prolong the messy battle for the Democratic nomination, encouraged by right-wing radio hosts like Laura Ingraham and Rush Limbaugh. Or is Hillary just suddenly more palatable
to conservatives than multi-culti Obama
Something is rotten in the state of
. [more inside]
Michigan Democrats for Romney
is an effort by mischievous Michigan Democrats to take advantage of the uncompetitive January 15th "beauty contest" primary
on the Democratic side by encouraging Democratic voters to vote for Mitt Romney
in the Republican primary so that Romney won't drop out of the primary race after making his last stand in Michigan
. Similar hijinks by Michigan Republicans in 1972 led to George Wallace's victory in the Democratic presidential primary
Make your own attack ad.
The Democratic party is uploading all its "tracker" videos of the top Republican candidates out on the campaign trail, for use by anyone for anything. "The party hopes that thousands of eyes might find something the mainstream media has missed, or that a new way of juxtaposing the video with something else will be revealing about the candidates," says the NYT
. Gimmick or political sea change?
Clinton in planted questions row.
The US presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton
, has criticised her aides after she was accused of taking pre-arranged questions at a rally in Iowa. A case of meet the new boss
, same as the old boss
Yesterday, Ralph Nader sued the Democratic Party for conspiring to prevent him from running for president in 2004. The lawsuit alleges that defendants used “groundless and abusive litigation” to bankrupt Ralph Nader’s campaign and force him off the ballot in 18 states, and names as co-defendants the Kerry-Edwards campaign, the Service Employees International Union, private law firms, and organizations like the Ballot Project and America Coming Together that were created to promote voter turnout on behalf of the Democratic ticket. According to attorney Carl Mayer from the team that filed the suit, interviewed this morning by Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman
, "what this lawsuit will do, and the importance of it is, is to set a precedent so that the two-party monopoly system that shuts out minor parties in a way that other Western democracies never do, that this will set a precedent to prevent this type of intimidation and harassment."
On Thursday, August 9th, at 9PM EST, the LOGO television network
along with the Human Rights Campaign
are going to host a televised forum with some of the leading Democratic presidential candidates for the discussion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trangendered issues. According to the network, if you are unable to see the program on cable, it will be available to you live via the special website. And as of August 2nd, surfers are invited to submit questions to be asked of the candidates live.
"George Soros initiated holdings in Oil Equipment & Services company Halliburton Co.. His purchase prices were between $27.62 and $33.53, with an estimated average price of $31.3. The impact to his portfolio due to this purchase was 2.02%. His holdings was 1,999,450 shares as of 12/31/2006. Halliburton Co. closed today at $30.05." Maybe he's 'culture jamming
'? Might raise some amusing ethical conundra
in any case.
The Democrats' Sonny Bono?
When George Bush used the 1970s Orleans
hit, Still the One
, as a campaign song in 2004, John Hall
issued Bush a cease and desist order
for using his song without permission. A founder of the antinuclear group, Musicians United for Safe Energy
(best known for the 1979 concert film, No Nukes
), Hall decided to run for Congress
in upstate New York, winning upset victories this year in both the Democratic primary
and the general election
against GOP incumbent, Sue Kelly
. Before his Congressional victory, Editor & Publisher posted From Soundchecks to Soundbites
, an interesting discussion with Hall about music journalism vs. political journalism.
Democrats of Faith.
Jesse Lava, co-founder, says
the site is attempting "to help reframe the values debate to be beyond wedge-issue politics, beyond fear and division and more focused on justice and the common good."
"This is the kind of idea no politician could put forward now."
In light of the recent Yearly KOS
liberal blogger gathering, "old media" columnist David Broder
surveys the potential emergence of a new generation of liberal blogs that strive to be taken seriously as promoters of actual domestic and foreign policy, including Democracy: A Journal of Ideas
and The Democratic Strategist
. Broder highlights a piece by Duke law professor (and anti-ironist wunderkind
) Jedediah Purdy on "The New Biopolitics"
(which suggests that first-world nations today should invest more into third-world economies, with the understanding that those third-world economies will later help pay the booming pensions and medical costs of first-world workers). Will liberal "ranty"
blogs give way to more sober online journals of this sort? Or is it just more insider wonkery
by another name? Was Woody Allen correct when he imagined what the merger of commentary and dissent
would lead to, or can we look forward to a heightening of political discourse in the near future?
Advice for weary, wandering Democrats
Note to Democrats: "Barack Obama put it exquisitely in his victory speech: "Government can help provide us with the basic tools we need to live out the American dream."
Here's a dirty little secret. The Republicans know this. Nothing scares them more than us returning to our simple answers. ..."
What's wrong with the Democratic Party? Leave it to the Daily Show's
Ed Helms and former Ohio senatorial candidate Paul Hackett
to hit the nail on the head
"Resolved that the United States Senate does hereby censure George W. Bush, president of the United States, and does condemn his unlawful authorization of wiretaps of Americans." Invoking "high crimes and misdemeanors,"
Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold introduces a motion to censure
[PDF link] President Bush for his controversial, legally dubious
NSA wiretapping program. Feingold declares: "The President must be held accountable for authorizing a program that clearly violates the law."
Republican leader Frist retorts: "It's a crazy political move"
that sends a "terrible" signal to Iran
. Democratic bloggers say: Call your senator
. [More legal fallout from the NSA program recently discussed here
A Letter to the American Left
By Bernard-Henri Lévy.
"Nothing made a more lasting impression during my journey through America than the semi-comatose state in which I found the American left.
I know, of course, that the term "left" does not have the same meaning and ramifications here that it does in France.
And I cannot count how many times I was told there has never been an authentic "left" in the United States, in the European sense.
But at the end of the day, my progressive friends, you may coin ideas in whichever way you like. The fact is: You do have a right. This right, in large part thanks to its neoconservative battalion, has brought about an ideological transformation that is both substantial and striking. "
Media outraced by Bloggers, Kerry appeal to netroots galvanizes suprise drive against Alito
On Google News
, you'll read how US Democratic Senators Obama and Biden are against a filibuster. Old news. They've agreed to support it. Encouraged by direct appeals by Senators. Kerry
to internet activists, a blizzard of calls, emails, and faxes
, organized via the Daily Kos
and other blogs - with tactical direction from Kennedy
- have helped flip the positions of several Democratic senators, and as of Saturday some claimed the push was already within 2 votes
of forcing continued Senate debate on the Alito nomination. In fact, the pro-filibuster bloc might have started
with 37 votes
Meanwhile, today, Morning Edition
, which declined to run the filibuster push as a top story and failed to mention the internet effort, asked Senator Kennedy on Senator Hillary Clinton's opposition to the filibuster: actually, she joined the effort last Friday [ see main link ] : D'oh !
in Slate urges Democrats to grow a spine, and use the Alito hearings to provide the American public with some liberal talking points for a change.
"If the Scalias, Thomases, Alitos, and Borks of the world had their way ... there would be no meaningful gun control. States could have official churches. Hard-fought federal worker, environmental, and civil rights protections would disintegrate. What you currently think of as the right to privacy would disappear. These are the questions Senate Democrats need to ask of Sam Alito: Should property rights trump individual rights? Should the right to privacy be interpreted as narrowly as the framers might have intended? Do you believe that a return to the morals and mores of two centuries ago is in the best interest of this nation?"
While blaming Democrats
still seems to be the rule, cracks appear to be forming in the far right's support of the Republican party. Some advocate a boycott on donations.
Others want the party to take its cues from the new Pope.
But, with some already paying the price
for going to far out of the mainstream, is it feasible to think that a demand to be 'more conservative' or 'more Christian' will be heard?
Newsfilter: changing of the dems?
So our dear old friend
Howard Dean has got himself a new home
. So this begs the question, is it a new grassroots democratic party
or just another sign of a little bit of reeling before the corpse gives up the ghost
. Let the trolling begin
Recent neuroscience research suggests that Democrats and Republicans are not nearly as far apart as they seem (NYT).
Will an awareness that we are conning ourselves to feel alienated from each other help to close the political gap? Or, are we conned by science and the media?
Party like it's 1892! "Executive power and patronage have been used to corrupt our legislatures and defeat the will of the people, and plutocracy has thereby been enthroned upon the ruins of democracy."*
In the late 1800s, the Populist Party
, or People's Party, formed to merge the Farmers Alliance message of economic empowerment for growers with the Knights of Labor's movement to check the growing power and corrupt practices of big business (along with the Greenbacks Party critiques of monetary policy)
. With a strong base in the midwest and south, the party earned 9% of the 1892 popular vote, won the presidential electoral votes of four states (not to mention electing 10 congressmen, 5 senators, 3 governors, and 1,500 state legislators)
. However the party's power quickly faded as the Democratic Party co-opted much of the Populist platform
while internal disputes
culminated in the Populists placing the Dems' 1896 nominee at the head of their own ticket. Nevertheless, the populist movement's influence continued to be felt through various 20th century reforms including direct election of senators
, presidential term limits
, and abandonment of the gold standard