Archive for August, 2010
The Gallup poll results reported today are an alarm bell for Democrats across the nation, particularly in the House of Representatives!
Asking voters whether they will favor a generic Republican or a generic Democrat, the result today is a ten point lead, 51 to 41 percent, the greatest margin in the history of Gallup polling! It indicates a possible massive swing of support to the GOP in November, with some observers predicting a gain of as many as 60 seats in the House of Representatives, with only 39 needed for GOP control!
There are still nine weeks to turn this situation around, but it seen as an electoral “Armageddon” for Democrats, with the major problem being the lack of enthusiasm by liberals and Democrats to go out to the polls this fall, while the level of interest in voting is very high for Republicans!
Also, Independents seem to be very unhappy with the situation that exists, and therefore, seem to favor voting for the Republicans as a protest vote to demonstrate their dissatisfaction!
The question that arises is why so many people seem to have no problem that the Republican party has no agenda, except to repeal the past two years! The party offers no new ideas, and yet it seems as if many Americans have amnesia as to what caused the nation to be in such a economic free fall these past three years!
It is almost as if it is just a question of dissatisfaction, and a resultant “throw the rascals out!” reaction, without careful thought as to why one would wish to return to failed policies in place of giving a real trial to the Obama agenda!
So the future seems grim, but Democrats MUST mount a national campaign, and fight with vigor to get the message out to the American people!
While there can be a sense of defeatism at this point, the effort MUST be made to convince Independents, liberals and progressives, and registered Democrats to get out there and work for the party and vote, as despite gloomy predictions, polls have been wrong in the past, and it is not yet a “fait accompli”!
Or as the saying goes, “It ain’t over till it’s over!”
As Barack Obama speaks to the nation this evening, commemorating the end of the combat phase of the war in Iraq after seven years and six months, there remains uncertainty about the future of that nation, and continued concern about the war in Afghanistan, and the expansion of actions against terrorism in Pakistan and Yemen!
Obama entered the Presidency with two wars to deal with, along with all of the other burdens regarding the economic recession, and the interest in reforming health care and other parts of his domestic agenda!
He had to adjust to the military culture, and the reality that many in the military and the defense structure were not thrilled by his ascendancy!
As he decided to escalate the war in Afghanistan, and to use drones in Pakistan and utilize intelligence operations in Yemen, he received the criticism of liberals and Democrats who wanted him to get out of the war! But at the same time, Republicans and conservatives have remained skeptical about his long range commitment to the war on terror!
Obama was smart to lean on and rely on Defense Secretary Robert Gates and General David Petraeus, and they both were very willing to assist him in difficult moments!
Obama has been described as a “reluctant warrior”, who felt the burden of the wars, and felt oppressed by the deaths of soldiers and the massive injuries many young war veterans have suffered!
It is clear he would prefer to be remembered as a domestic President who brought major reforms, and it is hoped that he will work to prevent what President Dwight D. Eisenhower called the “military industrial complex” from overtaking the purposes of his Presidency!
This is a time to wish him the best as he faces tough decisions on the future of our military operations as the Presidential election nears over the next two years!
The Republican party has a disease which is spreading widely, and making them look totally ridiculous to anyone who has any brains or common sense!
That disease is “Obama Derangement Syndrome”, which is a condition that blames President Obama for EVERYTHING that goes wrong, even when the President has NOTHING to do with what went wrong!
So it is Obama’s fault that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie failed to win $400 billion in federal aid for the state education system in the competition for federal funds, because the state failed to provide necessary information! It apparently is Obama’s job to make sure every state competing for the grants has filled out the forms correctly!
It is Obama’s fault that we entered into the Afghanistan War in 2001, according to Republican National Chairman Michael Steele, even though Obama was a state senator in Illinois at the time and George W. Bush was President!
It is Obama’s fault that a mosque will be built at Ground Zero despite the fact the New York City Planning Commission approved the project, and another mosque is already there for many years, two blocks from the site of the new project!
It is Obama’s fault that British Petroleum failed to follow basic rules and regulations, resulting in the oil spill, even though the government reacted quickly to start dealing with the crisis, which BP could not figure out rapidly to resolve satisfactorily!
It is Obama’s fault that his father was born in Kenya and was a Muslim, even though his dad left early and his mother’s white family was Christian!
It is Obama’s fault that the economy has not turned around “on a dime”, rapidly overcoming the mistakes of eight years of the Bush Administration!
We could go on and on and on, but the point is that Obama is being blamed for everything, including original sin, by the opposition–more than any President has been blamed after only 19 months in office, and really even in a complete term of office!
The fact that the Republican party has not come up with one original idea on any government policy, and expects the American people to put them back in control, simply by employing “Obama Derangement Syndrome”, shows exactly why they SHOULD NOT be given back power, as they drove our country “into the ditch”, and now want the keys to take over the country again, a description Obama gave himself as a joke at several public appearances!
The real disease of America is not “Obama Derangement Syndrome”, but instead “Republican Derangement Syndrome”, as they are themselves dividing and fighting in an internal civil war between right wing and far right wing within their party!
Witness the refusal of the losers in Nevada, Arizona, Florida, and Alaska to endorse their opponents, and the loony people such as Michele Bachmann who raved after the Washington Mall rally of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin that there had been one million people there, while CBS News estimated the crowd at about 87,000!
The Republican party is bitterly divided on the far right, and delusional about who should take responsibility for mistakes or failures, and even on basic facts such as size of crowds!
Is this the group that the American people want to take us into the future? Certainly, we can hope that they have more common sense than that, but we shall see in two months!
Many average Americans wish to believe that the Tea Party Movement is just a group of ordinary Americans who “want their country back”!
What these people do not realize is that they are being exploited and stirred into action by billionaires who have no concern for anything, but their own wealth and power!
As an article in the New Yorker by Jane Mayer demonstrated last week, and as further explained by Frank Rich of the New York Times, the real manipulators behind the Tea Party Movement are Rupert Murdoch of Fox News Channel, and two brothers, David and Charles Koch, with the two brothers wealthier than any Americans except Bill Gates and Warren Buffett!
The Koch brothers’ father helped to finance and promote the John Birch Society, born in the late 1950s, and the idea of corporate interests fighting government “interference” goes back to the American Liberty League, which opposed Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal as “socialism”!
The American Prosperity Foundation is bankrolled by the Koch brothers, and they are against taxes, corporate regulations, organized labor, and government “handouts” to the poor, unemployed, ill, and elderly!
They are behind the uproar about the so called “Ground Zero” mosque, and sponsored the Glenn Beck rally at the Washington mall this past weekend!
David Koch ran for Vice President on the Libertarian line in 1980, and he came out against Social Security, federal regulatory agencies, “welfare” programs, the FBI, the CIA, and public schools! The brothers are promoting denial of global warming, and work against the Environmental Protection Agency!
Republicans in office and running for office have picked up much of the agenda of the Koch brothers and Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch! Apologies for BP having to pay a so called “slush fund” for the damage it has wrought, and willingness to run up deficits to cut taxes for the rich, but not provide extended unemployment compensation or other programs for the average American who is suffering through this Great Recession, are examples of the agenda of these billionaires affecting our politics!
It is essential that Barack Obama and the Democrats fight these interests by making average Americans realize how they are being bamboozled by extremely wealthy people who look down upon them with disdain!
Two years ago today, Republican Presidential nominee Senator John McCain surprised many when he selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential running mate for the Presidential Election of 2008!
This has been a very busy two years for Sarah Palin, including being controversial from Day One as to her qualifications to be a “heartbeat away” from the Presidency; her campaign performance; her resignation from the Alaska Governorship; her publication of her best selling memoir; her becoming a Fox News commentator; her campaigning for and endorsing of “Mama Grizzlies” and “Tea Party” candidates; her Twitter and Facebook commentaries; her lucrative speech tours; controversial family issues centered around Levi Johnson; and the rumors that she might seek the White House in 2012!
As she has become a heroine of the Tea Party Movement and the conservative right wing of the Republican Party, she has emerged as the major flashpoint for liberals and progressives and much of the news media!
The speculation is rampant that she will announce for President sometime next year, and that she will be hard to defeat or oppose, on the part of the male Republican politicians who seek the Presidency!
This is so despite the fact that her public opinion ratings are in the low 30s or high 20s, and she tends to have a majority of Americans skeptical of her abilities and intelligence!
The author finds it hard to believe that Sarah Palin will give up the lucrative financial life she has gained, thanks to John McCain, as she would have to forgo it if she announces for President!
And she would have to finally really answer detailed questions and show her deep knowledge of foreign and domestic issues, which she has so far failed to reveal! She comes across as ignorant and intellectually lazy on just about everything going on in this country and the world, and survives on slogans and patriotic rhetoric, as at the Glenn Beck rally yesterday in Washington, DC!
But if she were to run, could she really become the GOP nominee for President, or even run on a third party, right wing in nature, which might hurt the Republican nominee? Again, it is hard to imagine such occurring!
And were she the GOP nominee, could she REALLY rally the country and defeat President Obama? And could she actually deal with the myriad of domestic and foreign policy issues she would be confronted with, even with advisers to assist her?
Again, the whole scenario seems impossible, but imagine the following: Were she to win the Republican nomination for President, she would be receiving the nomination at the Tampa, Florida convention on–get this–Wednesday, August 29, 2012–exactly two years from today, and four years after being chosen to be the VP nominee!
If that were to happen, the reaction would have to be–UNBELIEVABLE!
Two of the three candidates for the US Senate seat in Florida this November appeared on CNN this morning, and in so doing, they demonstrated the quandary faced by Florida Democrats, as well as progressives and liberals!
Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who was a Republican until he broke with the party and announced his candidacy as an Independent; and South Florida Congressman Kendrick Meek, who surprised many with his overwhelming victory over Jeff Greene, a billionaire who spent many millions to try and take the Democratic Senate nomination away from him, both were interviewed by Ed Henry!
Based on polls, Meek is way behind both Crist and Republican nominee Marco Rubio, the former State House Speaker in Florida! Meek gains only about 16 percent of the vote, while Crist and Rubio keep switching the leadership in the race!
Remembering that Florida tends to be a Republican state in the past 15 years, but that Barack Obama won the state in the electoral vote two years ago, the situation faced by those voters and citizens who are not favorable toward conservatives and Republicans, and therefore would not support Rubio, is who do they support financially and vote for in November?
Crist disappointed many Democrats and progressives and liberals as he repudiated the Obama Health Care plan although he says he would work to change it in the Senate; as he refused to back gay marriage rights; as he refused to say how he feels about Sarah Palin, who he supported strongly when she ran for Vice President in 2008; and most importantly, when he refused to say if he would back the Democrats or the Republicans for Senate organization in 2011 if he wins the seat–a fact that his vote COULD decide whether Harry Reid or Mitch McConnell would be Senate Majority Leader next year! Instead, he said that he would do what was good for the people of Florida, refusing to commit himself!
It is obvious that Crist wants to keep his options open, but that is not encouraging to Democrats and progressives and liberals who have to decide if it is worth it to support him, or go over to Meek’s camp, despite his apparently small chance, at least at this point, of being competitive in the race!
As Meek pointed out in his interview with Ed Henry, he had overcome a billionaire spending millions of his personal fortune, and that he is the only TRUE Democrat in the race!
So the Florida Senate race is a major problem, particularly for those who want to assure that Marco Rubio does not take over the seat, with what would seem like a likely victory for the Tea Party, and the ultimate advancement of Rubio to a presidential run at some point in the future!
If one attended, or watched Glenn Beck yesterday on C Span , at the “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington, DC, he seemed very committed to unity and spoke more like a religious evangelist than a political firebrand!
It would be hard to find fault with his message, but it contradicted everything he has said on Fox News Channel and his radio shows, where he has called President Obama a racist, talked about the President as a Muslim, a Fascist, a Nazi, a Communist, a Socialist, a Marxist, a totalitarian, etc!
His rhetoric on television and radio encourages alarm, fear, trepidation, hysteria, and undermines the ability of this country to resolve its economic, social, and foreign policy problems! He has made millions promoting hate, poison, divisiveness, anger and despair, and he has aimed at splitting the American people based on race, religion, and ethnicity!
How can it be explained that Glenn Beck seemed so different yesterday on the Washington Mall? It is the fact, as the columnist John Avlon has declared, that there is a split personality, a good Glenn Beck struggling with a bad Glenn Beck!
It is clear that Glenn Beck is an opportunist, who is ultimately out to make as much fortune as he can, without considering the effect he has on the rest of us in this country! He realized that this rally yesterday could not be portrayed in the same light as his talk shows, because that would undermine the profit motive always in the forefront of his mind! Better to confuse the American public, some of which is clueless on Glenn Beck’s real motives!
Better for Beck to look reasonable and rational, but watch as he goes back to his emotional ranting and raving on his cable and radio shows!
To believe that Glenn Beck has reformed is to believe in the tooth fairy! Everything he has done is a ploy for his own advancement, and his willingness to besmirch the anniversary of the Martin Luther King, Jr. “I have a dream” speech, and claim he was not aware of the historical date is impossible to believe, as he is not an ignorant man, just a man willing to exploit for his own benefit!
Again, as expressed yesterday, we shall see whether Glenn Beck has reformed, but one can be certain that he is not going to do so, as that would upset many of his followers who prefer the Beck of cable and radio to the Beck of conciliation that we witnessed in wonderment yesterday!
The fact that Joe Miller, the Sarah Palin backed challenger to Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, leads by about 1,700 votes as the absentee and mail votes are being counted, is a stunning development to many political observers!
This surprising development comes just a short couple of weeks after the tragic death of former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, who served almost 40 years, and became famous for the “earmarks” and “pork” he could bring back to Alaska!
There was deep mourning for Stevens, and Lisa Murkowski had his backing, and she and her father, Frank Murkowski, who was a long term Senator before she replaced him, have also been acknowledged for gaining political favors, to such an extent that Alaska received more economic support from the federal government than any other state over the past few decades, as compared to taxes paid to the government!
Alaska benefited from both Stevens and the two Murkowskis in office, but Joe Miller campaigned AGAINST federal largesse, as if it was an evil, and Sarah Palln, after promtoting it as a short term Governor of the state, suddenly has switched sides, even though she well knows that her state has gained greatly from past funding coming out of the hides of other states, which did not gain such an advantage as Stevens and the Murkowskis were able to accomplish!
What an hypocrisy by both Palin and Miller, and does Miller really believe that if he is elected to the Senate, and does not pursue “earmarks” and “pork”, that he will be reelected in 2016?
The demagoguery of Sarah Palin and Joe Miller is obvious, and it makes one wonder how Alaskans think! Does lack of sunlight cause a deadening of the brain and common sense?
Fox News Channel and radio talk show host Glenn Beck, who has been on a rampage to divide America through his right wing extremist rhetoric, including his accusations of racism against President Obama, his stirring up of emotions over “illegal immigration” and the Muslim faith, and his distortion of American history and American leadership, held a rally today at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, on the 47th anniversary of the Civil Rights March and the “I Have A Dream” speech of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The rally was organized to “restore honor”, to promote respect and honor for America’s military, and to promote the importance of God in everyone’s life! It included a niece of Dr. King, and St. Louis Cardinal star Albert Pujols and his manager, Tony LaRussa, as well as former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin!
The rally lasted a little more than three hours, and on the surface, seemed to do no harm, and had no obvious political intention, and the crowd, estimated at maybe up to a few hundred thousand, was orderly and avoided political signs or ugly manifestations as at less organized and attended “Tea Party” rallies in the past! It also included speakers and an audience of all races and nationalities, a refreshing sight!
What stood out though was the fact that no political leaders of Congress, no talk show hosts, no people of any prominence, other than the few mentioned above, showed up and were evident in the crowd!
It also stood out that Beck himself, while loving all the attention he was gaining, the praise that was visited on him by other speakers, and the reality that he is likely to gain financially from this through sale of more books and more listeners and viewers of his talk shows, actually sounded and seemed quite different than what we have heard in the past couple of years from him!
Beck seemed to be going out of his way to reconstitute himself as a changed man, a man who wants to promote unity and patriotism, a total change from what he has been doing, creating division and hate in his wake!
The wonderment is whether this is a true conversion, and an admission of his sins, or just a facade, and skeptics will await how he conducts himself in the weeks and months to follow to see if he is genuine, or the phony many people think he is!
We will keep track and see whether the “leopard” can change its spots! Don’t bet on it!
The Republican Party already has members in the Senate that are among the most right wing extremists they have had in their history–Senators such as James Inhofe and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Jim Bunning of Kentucky, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, and David Vitter of Louisiana!
But these senators, with only Bunning definitely gone after this year, may be seen in the future as the new “moderates” of the party if the “Tea Party Eight” Senate candidates, now vying for membership in the upper chamber, achieve their goals of serving in the Senate!
The “Tea Party Eight”, all outrageous in their rhetoric and record of viewpoints and beliefs, are Rand Paul of Kentucky, Sharron Angle of Nevada, Mike Lee of Utah, Ken Buck of Colorado, Marco Rubio of Florida, Linda McMahon of Connecticut, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Joe Miller of Alaska!
Only Joe Miller is not definitely the nominee, as the absentee votes and mail in votes may yet renominate Senator Lisa Murkowski, a comparative moderate on the Republican side of the chamber! But all the others are definitely a threat to be elected and to make the Senate a body of crazies and loonies, destroying the dignity and historical image of that chamber that has included many of the greatest political leaders of American history!
It is essential that the Democrats who are running against these eight candidates take the gloves off, strike out against these candidates in an effective way, exposing their hypocrisy, their agenda to destroy many government programs, their loony and crazy behavior, and their lack of concern for the millions of unemployed people in this nation, brought about by GOP policies under George W. Bush!
This is not the time to be gentlemen and ladies, but rather to play hardball and fight to expose the truth, before the American people take action that will destroy much that is good and decent in our nation!
And this not only applies to the Senate, but to the House of Representatives, the state legislatures, and particularly the Governorships, as the future balance of power of the major political parties will be determined by reapportionment based on the census figures! That will be left in the hands of the dominant party in the legislature, and the influence of the Governors who are elected or reelected this year!
With the Supreme Court already favoring the Republican Party, if the political power shift favors that party over the next ten years in reapportionment, then the Democratic and progressive agenda will be seriously attacked and weakened, and that will be a bitter pill for the American people, who are not wealthy and upper class!