House Democrats are forcing the Republicans to admit with their vote that they just want tax breaks for the rich. The Democrats are trying a (sneaky or awesome, depending on your political preference) procedural move to force the hand of Republicans. Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner is turning a brighter shade of orange. Are Democrats finally learning how to play politics the same way as Republicans? I hope so. I'm basically an o-bot, it seems, by Liberal Intertubez Blog Commenting Standards, but I am oh-so-very-glad to see some hardball being played after several days of the media reporting that Obama apologized for not being more accommodating to the guys who got our country into the mess it's in.
So will the Republicans vote against tax cuts because the uber wealthy aren't getting their (unfair) share? A lot of them will, is my prediction, but we'll see. Either way, the media headlines will emphasize the delicate fee fees of the Republicans being hurt, and not the fact that (some?) Republicans vote against tax breaks for the middle class. Just you wait and see. Extra credit for lazy reporting for anybody in the media refers to this bill as a "tax hike" (on the wealthy) by Democrats.
Either way, I'm just happy to see the House Dems go out in a blaze of glory. It is hte awesome!
Now that the 2010 election is over, I think it's safe to say that Americans have clearly spoken: nobody on the Socialist Party ticket won. Clearly this means America is a center-right country. At the same time, Obama should have used the bully pulpit more, because progressive voters are fragile creatures who would rather let their opponents win and go scorched earth than support a moderate on their own ticket.
Yea, also, to, this is all stupid and wrong. I can say this because I have as much knowledge and credentials as most of the lip-flapping sputter coming out of the beltway media. I posted the following comment on Balloon Juice (one of the only sane political blogs on the intertubes), but had to share it here to.
Regarding this article.
So much analysis. So much wrong!
Everybody keeps pointing to their favorite ponies and stating, “if only Obama would have petted this pony more often and with a more vigorous stroking technique, Democrats would have done better.”
Despite what the Firebaggers say, Obama, Pelosi, and Reid passed a lot of pretty great stuff. Pretty great stuff can also be scary because it’s new and different. Could the pretty great stuff have been even awesomer? As always, yes, IF Republicans weren’t such total douchebags.
I will take pretty great stuff (that had a possibility of passing and did) over super awesome great stuff that could never pass. I will also definitely take the pretty great stuff over whatever the beltline Pony of the Day is.
I see a lot of pointing to the economy. That’s historically correct and correct today too. But I’m glad Obama didn’t spend the last two years primping a new stimulus pony. It could even have had sparkles, braided hair, and an “I love you” tattoo on its leg, but it never would have passed!
I think this shows really good leadership and a true commitment to this country for Obama, Pelosi, and Reid. They walked in knowing how much they were truly fucking themselves in the next election or two, but did the stuff they did anyway, because it was the right thing to do.
Like it or not, that’s how American politics works. Good stuff happens. When it does, there’s a backlash from entrenched interests and fear. Shit, there was a major backlash against social security (there still is today)! But it’s in no danger of going away because even conservative Americans rely on it. The same will be true for much of what was passed in the last two years.
Relish in the liberalism of the last two years. It will be back. Fear can’t last forever.
Also, too, THIS.
The winningest site for those of us on the left that understand that governing this country is more than just a bully pulpit and getting angry: http://whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com/
NOW GET OUT AND VOTE!
My congressional representative is Brad Miller. He’s done some great work and is generally well liked by his district. However, just like many Democrats this year, he’s facing stronger competition than in many previous years. Luckily, his opponent is a crazy conspiracy theorist (BP Truther) and “tea party” candidate.
I went to a house party for Miller’s campaign. This is the first time I’ve done such a thing. I’m always pretty politically motivated, but as far as campaigning goes, I’m usually just a money donator, bumper sticker/yard sign poster, and not much more.
The house party was encouraging. There were quite a few disappointed progressives, but they were largely positive towards Miller and more critical of Obama. This is interesting to me because most of the media reports about Democratic turn-out point to dissatisfied Obama supporters not turning out for their local Democrats. I can’t speak for all Democrats and the house party certainly isn’t a scientific sampling, but it was encouraging to see quite a few people turn out for Miller, despite possibly being disappointed in Obama.
Personally, I think Obama has done a great job considering what he has going against him. Sure, I disagree with him from time to time (such as a lot of the bipartisan wishful thinking), but I’m not sure Obama would have accomplished what he had if he had taken that position, so I give him a pass. I guess I’m just an O-Bot, but I don’t blame him for not getting my ponies and rainbows. I blame the obstructionist Confederate Party of Big Business (aka Republican Party). I think we need to channel our fear and anger away from minor intraparty mistakes and quibbles and channel it against the political party that is holding up all true progress for the American people.
If you are a liberal and are feeling unmotivated to vote, just think about what it would be like to have a tea partier as your representative. That is what is at stake. Do you want government to work for you or against you? There is no other choice.
Despite the overall outlook and common beltway wisdom, I’m feeling encouraged and can’t wait to vote for Brad Miller and Elaine Marshall.
John McCain said on a radio interview that the GOP won't cooperate for the rest of the year. I know, I know. Eleventy billion people are going to say this in unison, but I just can't NOT post this!
All together now... Since when has the GOP cooperated with the Democratic majority in the past two years?
As usual, The Rude Pundit is right. President Obama never promised to not escalate the war/occupation in Afghanistan. I knew this voting for him. And yes, Rude is also right that I made that little platform negotiation in my head (I'll trade war for health care, etc.). However, one point I think Rude is a bit wrong on is on how Obama's liberal plans are panning out. Aside from Gitmo, I think he's done a good job advocating liberally. It's not that he's just waffling on liberal issues because he doesn't believe strongly in them. He's doing it because he has absolutely no choice.
The fact is, despite an overwhelming majority of Democrats, we do not have a liberal -- let alone socialist (I LOL every time I hear a winger say that) congress. We have a center-right congress. For every Al Franken, Bernie Sanders, and Brad Miller, we have nearly as many Blue Dogs, Republicans, and Conservadems. That's not even including the truly "moderate" Democrats (conservative Democrats are not moderate, by definition). That makes it very difficult for a progressive agenda. But if there is one thing the majority of congress agrees on, it's killing foreigners! Especially if they have brown skin or happen to be of the Islamic faith. Show me any federal politician (except a very small handful) and I'll show you a war hawk! So when Obama proposes his Afghan strategy, expect much rejoicing at our country's ability to wag its gigantic military penis at everybody else. Oh, sure, Republicans will whine about how they don't like it. But it won't be because they are anti-war. Hell to the no! It will be because it's not hawkish enough!
So, I don't see any reason to blame Obama about this American Empire Building Adventure or, by contrast, the watered down nature of his liberal promises. He's just delivering what he can within the best of his abilities and a stubborn congress. And that just happens to favor the righties more than us lefties. Although, I do think he should take a stronger stand on Gitmo. But that's just my opinion.
So what can you do to stem the hawkishness if you are anti-war, like myself? Well, one way is to invoke the other great fear that the conservative (Democrat and Republican) hawkers have: taxes. You probably thought I was going to say deficit and/or debt. Nope. Oh, sure, they say they are all against rising deficit and debt. But that's a complete load of campaign trail sales pitch BS. The Clenis (aka Uberliberal Circa Nineteen Hundred and Ninety Two – according to hawks) left us a freaking budget surplus! Fiscal Conservative Reagan? No. Fiscal Conservative Bush The Smarter? No. Fiscal Conservative W? No. Now, it's easy to just blame W for the squandering of the surplus. But remember, he wasn't the enabler. He needed congress to do it, and boy howdy, did they ever! And who was at the center of it all? The "tax and spend" liberals? No. The "fiscal conservative" (heavy irony quotes) war hawks were. So, anyway, yea, you can't fight them by complaining about how it adds to the deficit. They just do not care.
But the hawks can hear when you mention a tax! Have you seen the outrage of Rep. David Obey's proposition that our wonderful adventures in Afghanistan actually be paid for like healthcare? The hypocritical outrage is absolutely laughable.
So that's why I absolutely, 100%, support a special tax on wars. In fact, there should be constitutional amendment requiring that all foreign military adventures (whether or not they are officially declared "war" by congress) be paid for by a special progressively increasing income tax (structured similar to the standard federal income tax, but without any exemptions or limitations to those not in poverty). It's time the rest of us feel a teensy tiny pinch while military families and families in the areas we are attacking are literally torn apart. Wars should simply not be allowed to be funded by deficit dollars. Budget neutral! End of story. How on earth could a real fiscal conservative disagree with that?
But that will never happen because the majority of our current congressional representatives care more about getting reelected than following their stated principals, let alone doing good for simple the sake of doing good. Remember that when you are voting for your representative and senators. I am not a pessimist. We can change this. Obama's campaign (not Obama himself) proved this. All politics are local, etc.
So do something, already! Write your reps.
Post-Obama Speech Update (8:41PM): I don't want to deeply analyze what he said or get all pundity here, so I'll leave that to the professionals. I do, though, want to comment on Obama's timeline. He said in 18 months after the January "Afghanistan Surge" we will begin bringing troops home. Now, I don't want to imply that he said everybody will be home in June, 2011 -- that's not the case. But I was honestly shocked that in a mere three Friedman Units, he thinks we can get this under control and to some degree successful and secure enough to where even moderate war hawks can be happy with drawing down forces. I'm still anti-war, but I would be extremely pleasantly surprised if that ends up being the case. I'm a bit skeptical this timeline will not be extended, though. That said, I am much more confident than any time anybody from the previous administration, or Little Tommy Friedman himself, proclaimed all will be well in just six more months. Whether or not you agree with Obama's approach, at the very least, the adults are back in charge. President Chimpy certainly left a lot to be desired in that respect.
I love science! NASA has confirmed that the projectile launched into the moon's surface that offered a less than Hollywood spectacular boom uncovered 24 gallons of water. That is so awesome! Water on the moon has many benefits. First, astronauts can drink it. They can also breath the oxygen, once the water molecule is broken apart. Finally, the hydrogen can be used for rocket fuel. Since all these essential resources do not need to be taken to the hypothetical future moon base, a ton of money can be saved!
But with every bit of good news, seems to come a lot of bad, these days. NASA's Ares rocket system (part of the Constellation program) is apparently over budget and the Obama administration is trying to figure out what to do about this. This is sad. After health care and jobs, science is a top priority in my book. And highly visible, highly inspirational science like the space program should be a huge priority.
Please write the president and tell them how important the space program is to human kind. Some good talking points would include the number of jobs created by the Ares program and potential future moon missions, the inspiration to the next generation of kids to get interested in science, and the importance of the USA becoming the space leader again.
The money needed is a drop in the bucket compared to the perpetual needless wars we are involved in. Only three billion more dollars is needed each year. Compare that to the nearly one trillion dollars spent so far on killing people in the middle east.
If we don't lead the world on space exploration, it appears China will be glad to fill that role.
For several years now, BP has subjected us to the endless "common sense" of its scripted sock puppets on the teevee machine. Now the Natural Gas lobby has started the same type of ad campaign. Did you know we have over 100 years of Natural Gas?! ZOMG BURN IT ALL UP NOW BABY! SCREW THE ENVIRONMENT!
For crying out loud. Give me Solar, damn it. Screw your fossil fuels.
Senator Hagan - I am writing this letter to urge you to support Senator Bernie Sanders' American Health Security Act of 2009, which is a Single Payer health care bill. I have no delusions of this bill's ability to pass the Senate - it surely will not.
The reason to vote in favor of it is to measure the support in the Senate of a single payer style health care bill. This is something that likely will not be able to pass for decades, but what Sen. Sanders is doing is important because it gives us a baseline to see how many votes we have now, and how many we need to work for in the future.
I am currently 32 years old. I hope to see a single payer system implemented in the USA before I die. This is a fantastic first step.
Please show the rest of the country that North Carolinians are progressive Southerners -- not knee-jerk-reaction head-in-the-sand conservatives.
Please support the American Health Security Act of 2009.
My teevee just told me that climate reform will cause gas prices to raise above $4/gal (no evidence was provided, of course). This commercial was paid for by some petroleum lobby, as indicated in the very fine print.
That's odd. I seem to remember huge gas price increases happening without any climate legislation pending not too long ago. And if I remember correctly, the prices went down sharply as soon as people started getting smarter about wasteful gas spending, which was a necessity due to the declining economy. All of that had nothing to do with reducing carbon emissions.
Why are lobbies not required to do an oral endorsement, like politicians? They should. "We're America's petroleum lobby and we paid for this message." Not everybody reads the fine print, like I do.
You know, if you think about it, they are basically threatening America with extortion. Force us to clean up, we raise your prices. Well to that I say, I call your bluff, and here's a middle finger you can sit on.