Tuesday, April 29, 2014

John Boehner to Obama: "Step off the sidewalk, boy."

John Boehner has just disrespected President Obama most gravely and, by extension, all people of color in much the same way that the jerk owner of the LA Clippers insulted blacks this week.  Boehner picked his words with a bit more subtlety but the import is the same. The Speaker of the Houser as much as said, "Step off the sidewalk, boy, so a white man can walk by."

Boehner did this in the way he framed possible passage of immigration reform, conditioning such passage on Obama adopting a "more respectful" attitude toward the House of Representatives.


In all my 70 years of paying close attention to politics, I never heard such a thing.  Passage of urgently needed legislation is conditioned on how nicely-nicely the President treats the rival party in Congress?  And who is to judge the adequacy of this conduct?  Why the GOP, that's who!

So they can blame Obama if immigration stays off the table, accusing him of not having gained their "trust".  

Eleven million immigrants and countless businesses  -  everything from construction to hotel services and agriculture  -  have to wait on the pleasure of the GOP in the House as to whether these lords almighty "feel" okay about Obama. 

In other words, he has to "cotton" to them.

These are the people whose followers in 2010 spat on Democratic members of the House as they entered to vote for the health insurance act.  They spat on Representative John Lewis, who got his skull split in a peaceful march for civil rights.  He's a national hero and they spat on him.  Above them GOP Congressional representatives looked down from an outside balcony and cheered their supporters on in their disgusting conduct.

Sure seems the GOP in Congress and their followers are the ones who have to learn to "respect" Congress.

The subtext of all this is racism.  Because Obama is half black, Boehner and his ilk can suggest he's not trustworthy and not respectful enough. I'm very sorry to say that the struggle to end racism in this country still has a long way to go.  Racism is clearly the driving force played on by Boehner and his cohorts to deny Obama an effective second term.  

Obama can't say one word about it. And apparently the Democratic leadership in Congress won't say anything, being a remarkably chicken bunch.   

So what are we going to do about it?  Can we do anything?  

I suggest we pull an upset on the GOP this fall and win back the House.  That would more than settle their hash.    

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Lift the Old Democratic Lady Up and Shove Her In Your Car!

It's hard to tell whether my beloved Demoocratic Party is being stupid or blind or both.  You decide.

In 2008 and again in 2012 the Obama campaign showed the Democrats how to win political races.  It's simple.  You register your people, then you get them out to vote. 

Your people are the Democrats.  So you find out where they are, make sure they're registered and then haul them out to the polls.  You do whatever is necessary to get your voter there.  One time I had to carry an old lady to the car to drive her to vote.  Halfway to my car I dropped her.  But I picked her up and stuffed her in the car and off we went to her polling place.  (We won that race handily though we were outspent heavily in advertising.)

With precinct work, as it's called, a less affluent candidate could win and didn't have to sell out to moneybags.  And people could participate at the grassroots level and have a ball.  The headquarters became their second home. They had power and they knew it.

Money mushes all this up.  Until about 1980 door-to-door precinct work still happened in political campaigns.  Then a bunch of young, hungry wannabes discovered they could make a lot of bucks by making campaigns all about money.  They would get a salary and a cut of the money being spent on advertising.  The bigger the ad budget, the bigger their "commission".  And the bigger the ad budget the bigger their salaries because (1) America pays bigger salaries to operators who handle big sums, and (2) there was more money to pay bigger salaries.

Not all the money went into advertising and salaries. Lots went into fund-raising.  Yes, fund-raising.  It was the snake swallowing its tale.  One of the first expensive Democratic Congressional campaigns in my old stomping grounds spent almost every cent it raised on raising the money, including the money-raisers' salaries.  To a lesser degree, that still goes on. Romney's campaign did it a lot. It's called eating your young.

Now Obama and his campaigns have shown that the old precinct work still works.  Sure, they had a lot of money, but he would have won with just a moderate amount of money. Why? Because he had the numbers, more Democrats exist than Republicans.  

Independents? They usually split about the same as the registration of Democrats and Republicans.  They flirt around and play "undecided" but there are no undecided voters. Indeed, recent statistical analysis proves that the undecided voter is a myth.  We old pols knew it all along. People vote their party.  And independents vote their neighborhood. People nowadays live in voting blocks, not just city blocks. An "Independent" in a GOP neighborhood is likely a closet GOP.

You can waste tons of money trying to convince people who have already made up their minds. That's why the GOP, though it outspends the Democrats enormously election after election, loses races where registration is not predominately Republican.  

Volunteers in the precincts are cheap.  Therefore no aspiring and greedy young pol is going to get rich riding herd on a bunch of volunteers.  You have to be a nut job like me to enjoy working with volunteers because some few do all sorts of wild and silly stuff, like stealing labor leaders credit cards or driving off cross-country with a campaign-rented car and the sound system blasting on its roof: "Today…. Teddy Kennedy at Peralta Adobe at noon."  Like that scene in the Blues Brothers.  But that's okay.  Whoever remembers the perfect picnics.  It's the terrible ones that we remember and laugh.

Instead of picking up on Obama's successful model and raising up people to walk precincts in Senate and House races this year, the professional Democrats in DC are banging the drums for money, money, money.  And doing it in a repulsive and stupid way.  Catch the openers from this week's batch of emails:

"MAJOR EMBARRASSMENT" …..Democratic Headquarters (the all caps is theirs)

"all hope is lost" …..Democrats '14  (the all lower case is theirs)

"kiss any hope goodbye" …… Democratic Headquarters again but now switched to depressing all lower case

"CRUSHING  blow" …… Democratic Rapid Response (now we've moved on to a mix of type)

"Dorothy, I did not expect this"….. Nancy Pelosi.  (Nancy, I never expect you either.)

Sheesh!  Let's all go slice our wrists! This stuff is so disheartening.  It's a terrible way to appeal to people.  Why not just send us leprosy germs?  Who wants to help an organization that is trying to use defeat to win?

And they are crying like this because they are being out-raised in MONEY.  Money does NOT win elections.  PEOPLE win elections.  So these Democratic professionals are being dishonest as well as stupid and bad at selling a product.  

My dear Democratic Party is a mess.  The only thing worse is the Republican Party.  At least the Democratic Party has delivered a lot of shining history and is good for people.  The Republicans have repeatedly got us into the ditch from which only the rich arise.  And they are so boring. Except for their maniac Tea Party wing.  Nancy Pelosi and her squeezed face and non-campaigning lethargy sure hasn't the entertainment value of wild women like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman and that "I am not a witch" woman.

Gosh, I miss them.  

Maybe they'll turn up here in a road production of "the Scottish play".  Know what that is?  

"Bubble, bubble."

(Next time:  What do we do now?)  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My Democratic Party Is So Stupid

I am very proud of what my party stands for.  

I am proud of its history in the years it produced a brave and visionary president like FDR, a crippled man to fight the Depression and WWII in the days when there was no general acceptance of the crippled as capable.  

A president like Harry Truman, a humble haberdasher, feisty and smart.  

A crusader for the barefoot poor of his Texas hills and for all the poor and for civil rights, Lyndon Johnson, sadly drawn into a disastrous war but deserving high praise for his great domestic achievements.

John Kennedy, the first Catholic president, a hero in WWII and a hero in keeping the peace even when the military pressed hard during the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban missile crisis, and a hero in beginning disarmament talks.

Barach Obama, first African/American president, who saved us from financial collapse, saved the auto industry, killed Osama Bin Laden, got us out of two wars, got Russia to destroy Syria's chemical weapons, reduced deportations by a whopping 42% in the last 5 years, ended federal discrimination against gays, got Native Americans the billions owed them in royalties for their resources, has ordered the Justice Department to use "compassion" doctrine to release thousands serving long jail sentences for minor drug offenses, ordered huge cuts in carbon emissions by the auto and coal industries, got $20 billion from BP to clean up the Gulf coast, and  -  what no other president was ever able to do!  -  got us a national program of health insurance.  And more, lots more.

That's a hell of a record for a political party.  

But there's things to be ashamed of too.  The Democratic Party can be so stupid!  Willfully stupid!  And it can be colossally chicken.

It has held back from lauding this wonderful president and instead let the GOP dominate the media with its slimy, racist slurs against this good man.  With calling him "liar" during the State of the Union address.  With accusing him of fraud as to his birthplace.  With likening him to Hitler.  

This failure of the Democratic Party to stand up en masse is not only chicken, it's dumb.  "You can run, but you can't hide."  He's the president, the very obvious head of their party.  They can't disown him just because he's black and racists don't like blacks.  They can't disown him just because the GOP has skillfully played on this racism and also skillfully scared the beegeebers out of people about Obamacare.  Nobody in America will accept that the Democrats have nothing to do with Obama.  The Democratic officeholders  can stand aloof all they want, but he is theirs.  

The Democrats should embrace him proudly.  Praise him loudly.  Tell the people what I'm telling you here:  This is one of the best presidents of all time.  Instead they let the media speculate unchallenged about how badly Obama is hurting Democrats' chances in the fall election.  Hurting them?  He's all they've got and a lot more than they deserve! 

If we lose the House and the Senate in the fall, it's the Democrats' own damn fault.  The prize does not go to the stupid or the faint of heart.  They dug their own graves.  Silent, they let the GOP tarnish the solid gold guy who could have won them victory.

I wish I could say that the above is the entire extent of my party's stupidity, but it isn't.  Today, in an email from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the party made plain that it's too dumb even to learn the biggest lesson in campaign politics, one staring them right in the face.  Tune in next time, and I'll tell you what it is.

For now, call your Democratic Congress person's office and complain forcefully about the party's desertion of Obama.  If your Congressional representative is a Republican, complain that you are fed up with the refusal of the House to work with the President.

After all, this Democratic Party is your party.  

And certainly YOU haven't disavowed the best president in our lifetime.  

Or have you?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy Days Are Back!

They're back!  The happy days of the fun-flinging GOP candidates are returning.  Sure, we don't yet have another  GOP Senate candidate cooing that "I am not a witch", but we're moving in that direction.

Keep your eyes on Kansas. It seems to promise the best fun so far this election year.  For starters, the incumbent GOP Senator apparently lacks a bona fide residence in the Sunflower state but has come up with a substitute.  It's a shed on the golf course of his country club!  

Now that's creative.  While doing a variant on the populist log cabin bit, he's actually letting his core voters know that he's one of the non-47% who can afford a country club, plus he's hinting that he's possibly a racist and anti-female, since country clubs often exclude blacks and women.  Oh, yeah, and Jews. And he sure is reassuring his core that he doesn't pander to those environmentalists who go nuts at the sight of powerful golf course sprinklers swirling water into the air where it can evaporate.  Added to this, his name is Pat Roberts, so the intellectually lazy can hope he's that unChristian pastor who's always equating God with Katrina-type disasters apparently provoked by New Orleans jazz music.

As if all this were not enough, Kansas has a right-winger flying even to the right of Senator Roberts as a primary challenger.  This Tea Party guy is a radiologist who loves to share his patients' x-rays on his Facebook page and laugh at them.  He claims it's all for instructional purpose.  Yeah, right?  "See that broken leg?  Ain't that hilarious!"

To add even more spice to the wildness of Kansas, it's been rumored that Kathleen Sebelius may run as a Democratic candidate in the race.  A Democrat trying for the Senate seat in Kansas is as pathetic a hope as her reassurance to the President that the Health Care website would be up and running on time. If she has any sense  -  and since she trusted her IT contractors, she obviously doesn't  -  she will pull out apace.

But don't despair. This slate of fools isn't all who will be cavorting on the political stage.  The presidential hopefuls for 2016 are  starting to coast around the country sticking their toes in the water.  It's rather refreshing to imagine Chris Christie with his toes in the water instead of in his mouth.  Also toe-dipping is our old pal Governor Rick Perry of Texas, he who couldn't remember in 2012 those three things he wanted to do when he became president.  Apparently he's remembers now what that elusive third one was and thus is going to have a another shot at the White House.  Speaking of which, remember that he's the one who talked about shooting federal officials.

Yep, folks, so far in 2014 you ain't seen nothing yet!      

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Amazing News After a Long Time-Out

Good to be back after the wilds of the dentist chair and other unsavory episodes.

A lot has happened in the past weeks, but it was only today that things really got hot.  Here we go on a quick catch-up on the universe.

1. Here in the USA, Obama announced that 8 million have signed up for Obamacare.  Yep, count 'em  -  eight million!  No, don't count them.  Eight million is too many to count.  Plus another ten million are newly signed up in Medicare and CHIPs.  And some large number of under-26s, previously uninsured, can stay on their parents health insurance. Total those numbers and you'll see we're moving toward thirty million newly-insured, which is getting close to the total estimated number of America's uninsured before the Health Care bill was enacted.  Plus 1/3 of the 8 million newly insured are under 35, enough to make the program fiscally possible.  

So the sign-up site sucked but the sign-up succeeded. Now let's hear some drum beating!

2. In Eastern Europe John Kerry says that Ukraine, Russia, NATO and others have agreed to resolve the Ukraine crisis peacefully.  It's always a good day when we learn we will not be having a nuclear war.

3.  Not all news can be good.  On my TV is a hideous note of doom crawling across the screen:  A cocoa crisis is looming in South America and Indonesia that will not only drive up the cost of chocolate but force a change in its flavor.  I have gotten through 77 years of the wild ride of life by hanging on to chocolate.  It was known in our family as "brown medicine".  Why doesn't science do something useful and develop a cocoa plant that grows in the USA?  Like on my patio?

4.  Out in space about 500 light years away a planet has just been discovered that is "virtually a twin to Earth".  Now here's the big question, and it's not about there being life on the twin.  It's about the twin's cocoa crop.  If the crop ain't that great, let's not bother with the place.
During the entire Crimea/Ukraine crisis a few folks in Ukraine kept on reading old posts of this blog.  Were they trying to escape their own reality?  Looking for guidance to their madness in ours? In any case, I am touched.  If 2012 pieces about Paul Ryan being Eddie Munster have proved useful to the Ukrainians, I'm glad.  And I hope whoever they are that they are safe and hopeful, maybe even laughing. And stay that way.  

And the same wish for all of us.  Even for my dentist.