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Marion On March - 21 - 2011

In an online conversation this past weekend, someone reminded me of something I hadn’t thought about in years – the Reagan Presidential campaign of 1980. Some of the most effective campaign commercials used by the Reagan team during that election cycle were ones which utilized audio and video clips of Senator Ted Kennedy bashing incumbent President Jimmy Carter during his abortive primary challenge.

“Wanna know what the Democrats think about President Carter? Just listen to what a leading Democrat has to say.”

We all know what happened in the 1980 election. We’re still feeling the repercussions from the defection of the Reagan Democrats today. But, really, this goes back further.

After having spent the first two years of the Obama Administration, nit-picking, finding fault, gratuitously criticizing, and, when all else failed, inventing reasons to despair of the Democratic President, in the run-in to another general election, various people, pundits and politicians are still calling for this President to be primaried.

Some people making this plea may be very young and, therefore, wouldn’t be aware of what happens when a serving President is primaried, but others should know better. Here’s a quick recap: Lyndon Johnson was primaried by Eugene McCarthy in 1968. After coming close to losing in the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary, Johnson decided he wouldn’t run for re-election, which opened up a race for the nomination between McCarthy and Bobby Kennedy. After Kennedy was assassinated, McCarthy and then-Vice President Hubert Humphrey duked it out all the way to the Chicago Convention. Humphrey won the nomination and lost the election to Richard Nixon.

In 1976, Gerald Ford was primaried by Ronald Reagan, then considered the scourge of the Right and far too conservative ever to be considered seriously. Ford retained the nomination and lost to Jimmy Carter, who was primaried, himself, by Ted Kennedy four years later, losing the election to Ronald Reagan. So much for being too far to the Right to be elected. Reagan got two terms.

Then, in 1992, George H W Bush was primaried by lovely, cuddly Pat Buchanan – he, who still wishes he were in the land of cotton, sitting on the verandah watching the slaves frolick in the fields. Buchanan wasn’t a joke. He came close enough in some primaries to make the Brahmin Poppy Bush distinctively uncomfortable. Result? Bush lost the chance of a second term.

I know. Someone’s bound to point out that whilst history is instructive, it’s in no way determinative; but it does have a rather unpleasant way of repeating itself, and if you scratch the surface of the history of primaried Presidents, you’ll uncover a pretty nasty truth: that when a Democratic President is primaried (and loses the subsequent election), the fallout is far worse than when a Republican is primaried and loses.

Look at 1968. That election gave us Richard Nixon, and although Nixon left in disgrace two years into his second administration, due to the Watergate scandal, he left us the legacy of Roger Ailes, Karl Rove and ratfucking – all of which are very much with us and causing grief today.

Now look at 1980. That election gave us trickledown, credit and financial deregulation, a serious defunding of the Department of Education, Reaganomics, and the first Gulf War. Now tell me every bit of that isn’t impeding upon our lives today.

It wasn’t enough that, from the getgo, we’ve had celebrity talking heads, the 21st Century equivalents of Tom Wolfe’s infamous radical chic, ranting that Obama was a corporate sell-out, that he was a traitor for not implementing single-payer health insurance (he never did), that he’s no different from Bush, that he doesn’t care about the Middle Classes, we had some of those selfsame people encourage voters to stay away from the Midterm polls in protest.

I think the recent events in Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan bear proof of the perils of not voting.

Since the Midterms, we’ve had media voices, as well as Democratic politicians refer to the President, variously, as a quisling or a Nazi collaborator, regarding the temporary extension of the Bush tax cuts. We are still hearing from them how the President caved to the Republicans on this measure, never mind the fact that the Republicans had effectively shut the door to any negotiations regarding the repeal of DADT, or the passing of START or the First Responders’ Bill, until the tax cuts were extended. As things went, the so-called “cave-in” accomplished an entire year’s extension of unemployment benefits and a moratorium on payroll tax, amongst other things, as well as DADT being repealed and the other two bills enacted. Funny, how the Democrats and their well-heeled punditry neglect to mention the compromise which effectively bettered the plight of the working class.

But then, this Democratic party doesn’t even recognise the working class, per se.

And recently, pundits have stomped feet and demanded the President join the picket lines in Wisconsin, openly issuing a rhetorical threat that if the President wanted to see a second term, he’d better get his ass to Wisconsin. Since then, Congressman Anthony Weiner has gone on record as saying the President had no values, and Senator Bernie Sanders and perennial Presidential wannabe Dennis Kucinich have called for a primary challenger “to make the President stronger.”

Now, Kucinich is even calling for the President’s impeachment in view of the recent and very reluctant participation in the Libyan no-fly zone. Darrell Issa must be doing cartwheels.

Considering all this, Karl Rove and friends must have a virtual library of sound bytes and film clips stored up for whoever finally gets the Republican Presidential nomination.

More than any other President in my memory,  and I was born midway through Eisenhower’s first term, I can’t remember any President so vilified, so de-legitimised and so excoriated by both sides of the political equation as this President.

Primary Obama, and he’ll still get the nomination; but he won’t be stronger, nor will the Democratic party. In case they haven’t noticed, there’s a very real chance they might lose the Senate, this time around. The sheeple on the Left, and some politicians from safe Democratic districts, seem to forget that the only thing, at this point in time, separating us from a Republican Armageddon, is four Senators and the President.

Primary Obama, and he will lose the general election. It doesn’t matter if his Republican opponent be Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin or Donald Trump, he’ll lose. A primary challenger to a serving President tells the voting public that the President and his party are weak, shallow, vapid, divided and unfit to govern; and whilst that might be true of the Democrats, in general, it’s not true of the President. He really is the only adult in the room.

The 1968 primary challenge brought us 8 years of Republican rule and a pardoned Richard Nixon. The 1980 challenge took 12 years to reconcile. Primary the President, and we’ll be well on the route to Karl Rove’s goal of an unbroken hegemony of Republican Presidents. Give up the Senate and the House, and the Democratic party, with union funds seriously depleted, risks becoming a non-entity, a token opposition.

Given the Citizens United decision and the Kochroaches crawling from the corporate woodwork, and Karl Rove’s unbroken hegemony takes on the distinct image of 21st Century fascism, imbeded in dominionist theocracy.

The irony of this peculiar situation will be the fact that many within the President’s own party willfully aided and abetted not only his downfall, but the political suicide of the Democratic Party, itself. Many of us are doing the Republicans’ work for them. I guess many of us really have moved that far to the Left, that we’ve now found ourselves on the Right.

154 Responses so far.

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  1. MossyOak says:

    Don’t bash Obama because it helps the GOP? Whose side are you on? Certainly not America’s. Obama is a complete neoliberal sell out to the corporations, he lied to us more than Bush ever did, he is dismantling the Constitution (Miranda and due process, on the way out the window) he stayed completely silent while WI lost their union rights, didn’t even bother to show his face, his HAMP program not only did not save homes, it insured the banks took more of them, is still going after one room medical marijuana dispensaries in small towns while letting Wall Street thieves wallow in tax breaks and bonuses, his inner circle has disappeared and been usurped by corporate bigwigs like Immelt, started yet another war we cannot afford and will not get out of for a long time, once again with no end strategy because we’ll be hanging around long enough to rebuild what we blew apart. Jobs? What are those? And a flawed health care bill no one is paying any attention to except those applying for waivers. Gitmo still open, Bradley Manning rots uncharged and naked indefinitely in a cell while the CIC says last he checked Manning was being treated fairly.

    We need a complete do-over in Washington, and those who insist on debating whether the GOP/TP or the DEMS are the lesser of two evils are wasting valuable time and resources while the United States of Insanity swirls down the toilet bowl.

    • escribacat says:

      Do you have any practical suggestions or do you just limit yourself to complaining? Since you say the place is ‘swirling down the toilet’ was there a time in our history when you thought things were okay? What does your “Washington do-over” look like?

    • Kalima says:

      It might help if some of you remembered this, and I’m sure that for those who are really interested, they could make the effort to check out the more detailed list, because it’s much, much longer. Many people worldwide want a lot of things, it doesn’t mean that they will ever get everything they want. You have well over 300 million people in the U.S. whether they like it or not, the President is their President too, and he is not in a position to grant everyone’s wishes like a genie emerging from a magic bottle. Rather than President Obama being a disappointment, I would turn the mirror on myself, and realize that the problem is mine because of the too many high expectations I placed on just one man. I want a lot of things too, but if I don’t go out to make an effort to obtain it, it won’t come to me sitting behind a computer complaining all day long. I either have to go out to help to find it, help fight for it or meet it halfway.

      http://planetpov.com/2011/02/13/a-short-list-of-pres-obamas-accomplishments/#comments

    • Mightywoof says:

      I understand the constitutional limits on presidental power and I’m a Canadian. President Obama is not King, he does not rule by fiat -- you could elect a communist president and he/she would still not be able to ignore both houses and issue decrees. Your anger would be better directed at the House and the Senate -- that’s where Gitmo closing got sunk, that’s where there were less than 90 votes for single payer HC, he didn’t stay silent on Wisconsin (I heard him all the way up in the frozen north) but it’s a State issue and even I know there’s a line that the Feds cannot cross.

      If you honestly think that another 4 years of Republican governance is better then you must have forgotten Bush, Cheney & Co -- wishing for a complete do-over will lead to Wisconsin writ large and your country will never recover -- god help you all!!

      • KQuark says:

        Gitmo is my favorite complaint. The president did all in his power to close Gitmo besides just let everyone go. He was defunded and rebuked by the Senate 90-6. I have said before it’s Obama’s failure because it was ultimately he who promised to close it but c’mon always using that as a reason to say he lied is just beyond looking at the reality of what really happened.

        Again you people like this are beyond arguing with because they will not listen to reason. Obama just opened the door wider than ever for states to adopt a PO or single payer but they simply ignore this progress because they now have a personal hatred for the man.

        It amazes me how people who support the president have no problem expressing criticism for things they are not happy with him about but the detractors right or left are not as equally intellectually honest and give him zero credit on progress towards policies they propose to support.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Mossy--then vote Repub. Oh, your not going to vote, or vote for a third party? It’s the same as voting for the Reeps--and you know that. And “no difference”?? Only if you aren’t paying any attention at all. I’m not going to waste my time pointing out the differences. Cheers.

      • MossyOak says:

        I am SO sorry. I did not realize this is where all the ObamaBots closed ranks. Enjoy your little therapy group. Ciao.

        • Buddy McCue says:

          MossyOak -- Must it be “either / or?”

          Must it be either “Obama is a complete neoliberal sell out,” or “ObamaBots closing ranks?”

          Personally, I don’t think it’s as black and white as that.

      • KQuark says:

        Don’t bother with your efforts Cher once I hear hyperbole like he lied more than Bush I have nothing to say to these people. The president has kept many more promises than we have seen in recent history.

        And of course they lie just like the right. Manning has been charged with 22 new counts in March alone but it doesn’t fit their narrative so a lie would suffice.

        http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/03/bradley-manning-more-charge/

        • Chernynkaya says:

          Yeah, I know, KQ. It’s a total waste of time. But I at least want MossyOak to know that I for one won’t suffer fools lightly. I won’t bother arguing with these so-called Progressives any more than I would with a Bagger.

          • KQuark says:

            You’re a better person than I Cher. 😉

            These people have no idea programed they sound to people like us. Every time I read a list like this it sounds like the same person is commenting.

            • Chernynkaya says:

              Heh! Not better at all! It’s just that anything I really want to reply to that poster is against Planet policy!

  2. caleb36 says:

    For tactical reasons, I agree wit Marion’s blog. “Primarying” President Obama would almost surely lead to a Republic president in 2012. Still, we are confronted with the president’s continued alliance with the very wealthiest and most powerful, as well as his continuation of Bush-era wars and suppressions of civil liberties. Granted, Obama is light years away from a Scott Walker, but he has essentially accepted the conservative narrative in a more moderate form. Even under Obama, public services continue to be cut unmercifully, education budgets slashed, the environment abused, etc., and the president has not, to my mind, fought nearly forcefully enough against these destructive trends. Yes, his presidency has achievements, but they are far, far less than what the current situation requires. How can progressives assert their agenda in a meaningful manner without weakening the president and the Democrats? This is a discussion that urgently needs to take place.

    • caleb36 says:

      With reference to my comment above, the protests in Madison suggest that one very effective way to strengthen the progressive forces in the Democratic party is to initiate vigorous popular protests against extreme Republican initiatives. The Madison protesters, and the 14 state senators who backed them by temporarily leaving Wisconsin to prevent the presence of a quorum in the Wisconsin Senate, have helped the progressive cause immeasurably. True, Governor Scott Walker was ultimately able to enact his union-busting legislation. But due to his inability to obtain a three-fifths quorum, he was forced to detach the union-busting provisions from his larger budget bill. This action showed the entire world that the Republican-sponsored union busting had nothing at all to do with balancing the state budget.

      The benefits of the Wisconsin protests have been enormous. First, they have kindled a national pro-union movement which polls show has great popular support. Support for the protesters was in the 70 percent range, remarkably in a nation that has been propagandized against labor unions (and public sector unions in particular) for decades. The final rally in Madison, attended by about 100,000 people AFTER the union-busting bill was enacted, shows that this popular movement has legs.

      Second, the progressive rank and file of the Wisconsin party has taken control of the party’s agenda. The 14 state senators have become popular heroes because they courageously followed the wishes of their constituents instead of kowtowing to corporate interests. The actions of the Senators have made it much more difficult for other Democrats to pursue their own anti-union agenda. (Democrats have been pursuing such an agenda in state capitals, albeit in a more limited and restrained fashion than the Republicans. In Illinois, for example, Democrats have sponsored bills to limit public employees’ bargaining rights and teachers’ right to strike, in addition to endorsing drastic cuts in pension benefits).

      Finally, these protests will help to elect more Democrats. Recall petitions against 8 Republican state senators are likely to be successful. Governor Walker has been revealed as the malicious buffoon he is, and is likely also to be recalled. During the next general election, a Democratic majority is likely to be elected in the Wisconsin legislature, and the electoral benefits for Democrats may well extend beyond Wisconsin.

  3. Crazy Cat Lady says:

    I think a lot of Left-leaning folks like myself are sick unto death of being held hostage by the Democrats. Candidates like Obama make a lot of progressive promises when they are running for office, but after they win and don’t come thru, or even seem to be trying, we are supposed to just sit down and shut up, because otherwise we are TRAITORS who will cause the boogeyman to be elected next time. You know what? I say let the boogeyman get elected, if that’s what it takes to get progressives back out in the streets screaming about civil rights, torture, Guantanamo Bay, money corrupting politics, green energy and the other issues that I for one care about more than which damned party wins. A pox on both their parties.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Then vote Repub--stand for your “principles.”

    • Khirad says:

      I said that once, when I voted for Nader in 2000.

      I don’t have amnesia.

    • escribacat says:

      The boogeyman was elected in 2000. Maybe you missed what happened during the ensuing eight years, or maybe you thought it was just fine. I thought it was a travesty and don’t want to see it happen again. I’ll vote for whomever can keep the republicans out.

    • KillgoreTrout says:

      That sort of reasoning is exactly why the GOP/TP got more power in the last elections. And, I hope, you are seeing what they want to do. It ain’t good.
      And BTW, Obama did not run as a progressive. He didn’t pretend to be one. His platform was pretty much centrist, right down the line.

      • KQuark says:

        I’ve given up arguing with people who have this attitude.

        These pretzel logic arguments are so embedded into their psyches by the progressive blog world it’s no use.

        The GOP is chomping at the bit because they know if they can just keep enough of these Karl Rove progressives at home one more time in 2012 they can finally end SS, Medicare and Medicaid as we know.

    • KQuark says:

      Fantastic logic, let the right wing keep on dominating electoral politics so we can move further left, wait a minute huh?

  4. mad_as_heck says:

    Bravo and amen! All over the blogosphere and on Progressive radio, I see/hear people whose memories apparently don’t stretch back even to last November. Maybe not even to last month in Madison. People, we are in a fight to the death for our very way of life, for our country. I don’t think we can withstand Republican control of all three branches of government. The party needs to unite, because otherwise we hang separately. I’m mad at Weiner and Kucunich for what appear to me to be self-serving publicity grabs. Please stop with this talk of primarying, third parties and now impeachable offenses while there’s still time. Our votes count more than ever in a world where it’s us against huge corporations at the ballot box. The two parties are NOT alike, and a flawed Democrat trumps a Republican any day. A review of the Republican hopefuls ought to be enough to scare us into line, but I’m beginning to think the Democrats have a death wish.

  5. ADONAI says:

    Traitor is a pretty serious accusation. Death to traitors is my first thought.

    They can never be forgiven. Never allowed back into the fold. Once a traitor always a traitor. There are few worse things you could be.

  6. Kucinich has not called for Obama’s impeachment.

    He said that intervention in Libya was “an impeachable offense”. And he is correct. Going to war without the authorization of the American people, through their elected legislators, is not legal.

    I don’t agree with everything Kucinich says and does. But he is a very peace-oriented man. he always looks for a non-violent solution first. And he is well-versed in what the Constitution allows and does not allow.

    In what way is your criticism of Kucinich any different than the criticism of Obama from “professional Left”?

    • KQuark says:

      I think some folks have gone too far with their criticism of Kucinich because he is a very reasonable man when you take everything he says and does in perspective. I think he did go too far with what he said here though. He’s got a right to his peace loving principled stance but c’mon don’t blow smoke as they say. There’s no walking back this one statement and no doubt he made it to pander to what he considers as his base. We also have a media that does not do nuance and the right will use Kucinich -- impeachment -- Obama in any context they want to hurt Obama politically any way they can so he should know better.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        I agree. I usually admire his principled stances, but this is in no way helpful. I also agree with 2CCP’s comment above. I believe that this particular authoress has a habit of, if you will, “quoting between the lines” of those she disagrees with.

    • Caru says:

      As I understand it the United Nations Participation Act (1945), which was passed by Congress, allows the US to participate in any actions that the UN decides upon.

      Technically, Congress has already agreed to the intervention in Libya.

  7. At what point does criticism become detrimental?

    Is criticism of one’s “own side” allowable anymore?

    When I wanted to talk about the racism and bigotry in the gay community, I was accused of being “internally homophobic”, that I was uncomfortable with my own homosexuality and was somehow taking it out on the whole gay community.

    When I wanted to discuss my college’s response to human rights infraction against some students, I was being disloyal.

    When I questioned my employer’s funding of some disquieting policies and initiatives, I was being ungrateful *and* disloyal.

    When an employer does a job performance review of an employee, it is not enough that the employee has fulfilled the job duties. Has she done so in the best way, with the best possible use of her (and the employer’s) time? Has he improved the functioning of the company? Has she helped the company save money by cutting waste? Has he helped the company by increasing profits?

    I understand and admit that Obama has achieved some good things. But the questions that I ask are just the same as any employer would ask of his or her employee. And I have the right to ask those questions, whether the Vigilance Committee likes it or not.

    If the GOP/TP were to start running ads, using the wording of the briefs filed by Obama’s DOJ, against repeal of DOMA, most of you would cry foul. Yet, I am not supposed to question why that wording, comparing my partner and me to pedophiles and bestiality, was allowed to remain in those documents, suddenly I am in the wrong.

    It is unfortunate that you did not take the lesson from history that your graphic illustrates. Vigilance Committees were formed by a group of citizens who wanted to police the actions of others. The particular “notice” that you used was in response to Wisconsin citizens questioning the Civil War. Anyone who asked “why”, “how”, or “for what” was singled out as “traitors”. These committees had no checks and balances, they answered to no one but themselves, and they could make accusations, deliver judgments, and carry out their own verdicts in less time than it takes to boil an egg. There were no appeals. Punishment was usually death for the accused, who was not allowed to defend himself or present evidence in his defense.

    I have seen many other instances of this kind of thinking. “You have to agree with us, on everything, unconditinally, or you will be shot for a traitor.” The USSR used this. So did China, WWII Germany, Aryan Nation, the KKK, Westboro Baptist Church, and many others.

    During the 60’s and 70’s, war protestors were met with signs that said “America, Love it or leave it”, as if any criticism is being “against” that which is being criticized.

    If I ask my employee to wear shoes more appropriate to the workplace, am I criticizing his ratty old sneakers, or am I asking him to cut off his feet?

    I understood, from the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution, that my criticism of the government and elected officials was in order to make the government better.

    This kind of black-or-white, totalitarian thinking is not where I want to see America [sic] go. From my understanding, it is not the way our founding fathers wanted it to go either.

    But maybe they, and I, are just Quislings after all.

    • KQuark says:

      Huh everyone here has criticized Obama. The picture you are painting simply just does not exist.

      My biggest criticism of Obama had been on LGBT rights and vehemently opposed the arguments he and Holder were using to defend DOMA.

      But I also recognize the reality that Obama’s position has changed on DOMA and DADT has been repealed. To what positive end does it serve to keep on criticizing Obama on defending DOMA when he has stopped defending it. I would even argue that based on the latest poll on same sex marriage Obama changing his position on defending DOMA has made same sex marriage more popular. Remember the other side now says Obama should be impeached over not defending DOMA.

      That being said I think of course Obama and the rest of the Dems should go further and repeal DOMA outright and I’m still critical of Obama’s stance on same sex marriage because civil unions does not go far enough.

      This is what I mean about having perspective and realizing the difference between criticism and blindly being contrarian to anything Obama.

      I’m not going to throw Kucinch under the bus either because in summary he’s a very positive progressive force even though I think he went OTT on his impeachment rhetoric.

    • choicelady says:

      2CCP -- I will address your overall comments about “disloyalty” separately, but as far as the Obama DOJ filing the DOMA brief -- PLEASE understand the LEGAL process and its requirements. That brief was filed in the previous administration. Once a brief is filed, it has either to be dropped OR carried on as written. That is the crux of the reason why Obama finally DROPPED it. Will not defend it in court. It’s disgusting and probably unconstitutional. But he DID NOT ORIGINATE THE BRIEF. Those are not the words of THIS administration but of the previous Bush administration. So end the complaint here and now. American legal maneuverings are arcane and tricky and unsatisfying even though the outcomes might be great.

      As for your being “disloyal” -- well all of us have gone through that. You are not alone. The refusal of anyone to be silent in the face of muck ups by your allies always engenders that.

      Remember the great line in Harry Potter when Nigel gets points for standing up against Harry, Hermione, and Ron trying to protect them -- It takes courage to oppose your enemies. It takes MORE courage to oppose your friends.

      So be it.

    • foxisms says:

      In reply to your question,”At what point does criticism become detrimental?”, 2ccp…it’s tricky for sure.
      Considering that whatever is under criticism is already an irritant, looking at this is like doing math with negative integers.
      Personally I agree that this digital approach to discourse (oppositional or supportive) using the either/or of 1s or 0s is prohibitive of intelligent exchange, no matter what the subject. Beyond that…criticism (imo) becomes detrimental when personal, inflammatory remarks take the place of the contribution of thoughtful counterpoint.
      I think I have to look for you more often, here. We may have more in common conversationally than I perhaps thought prior to this.
      And as far as “Quislings” goes, I haven’t had a good Quisling since they closed down that chain of sub shops. Man, I used to love the prime rib and pepper one! And the condiments bar was stocked! Or was that Quisno’s? 😀

      • foxisms, yet I have been accused of being “against” not for personal attacks but for taking a stand against certain inadequacies that I see.

        This concept of “you’re just a perfectionist” confuses me as well. Is being better no longer a goal? Isn’t it better to strive toward betterment, even though we know that we will not (at least in this lifetime) reach perfection?

        I strive toward being a “perfect partner” to my partner. He assures me I am just fine the way I am (he lies well), and he probably wouldn’t be able to handle it if I were the perfect lover (but he would die happy!). That does not mean I can not try to be a better partner, and I always aim a little farther than I know I can achieve.

        • foxisms says:

          This world is full of both flowers and weeds.
          While some weeds look like flowers, some flowers look a lot like weeds.
          Don’t put anything in a vase on your kitchen table that you don’t want to have dinner over.
          The same goes with the sort of people you choose to get into things with.
          I’m not saying only talk to those that would agree. I’m merely suggesting a little more selectivity regarding the company you keep on line.
          And if someone takes a shot at you or your ideology on any given topic, don’t take the ride and wait for the next bus.
          Can I use any more mixed metaphors???
          You bet, but I’ll spare you. :-)

          • Mild Bill says:

            I would think a rose in a cornfield could be considered a weed and vice versa. I do not believe that any plant on earth is a weed as they all have their place on this planet and a reason for their exsitence.

            Just my personal observation.

            Sometimes it’s not what they are but what we call them! It doesn’t change what they are, though! LMAO!


            • foxisms says:

              Then would you indiscriminately put something in that vase on your kitchen table that you wouldn’t care to eat dinner over?
              You might…it’s your table and your dinner…but not everyone would.
              There’s room for that too.

  8. lynettema says:

    Marion, I agree with you 100 percent. Those who don’t I would wager are those who have participated in bashing (not criticizing) our President. I have no argument with those who don’t agree completely with the President’s accomplishments -- thought they should have been more “progressive.” But I can see how they, like the tp;s, will be biting off their own noses if they continue down this road of insisting on progressive perfectionism -- tp’s insisting on conservative perfectionism. The Cons WILL vote for any Republican like the good little sheep they are. Dems are wonky. I, too, worry about progressives ‘Naderising’ ’12.

  9. Abbyrose86 says:

    Great article Marion.

    I really can’t find much to add. I’m in agreement with you. WE are our own worst enemy. {sigh}

    • foxisms says:

      Allow me this free association, Abby…
      “We have met the enemy and they are us!” Al Capp ~ Pogo

      • Abbyrose86 says:

        Precisely! Good quote, very appropriate!

      • choicelady says:

        Picky, picky -- it was Walt Kelly who did Pogo. Al Capp was pretty RW and did Li’l Abner. Just preserving the facts is all. But yes, Pogo DID have that great quotation -- and it was spot on.

        • foxisms says:

          See? This is why I rarely mention, “correct me if I’m wrong!”.
          First it’s even more of a rarity that people wouldn’t do it anyway…and secondly, I’m wrong often enough that not saying it saves time in a conversation.
          But thanks, Abby…that “Al Capp” could have come out of my mouth anywhere at any time…and it would have been a whole lot more embarrassing for me under those circumstances!
          And no…I wasn’t being picky…I was associating freely…Honest! :-)

  10. Thefoxislaur says:

    Great op-ed today in Marketwatch that hits the nail on the head as well.

    New Civil War erupts, led by super rich, GOP
    Commentary: ‘Shock Doctrine,’ Reaganomics trigger explosive class war

    By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch

    SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Yes, “there’s class warfare, all right,” warns Warren Buffett. “But it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” Yes, the rich are making war against us. And yes, they are winning. Why? Because so many are fighting this new American Civil War between the rich and the rest.

    Not just the 16 new GOP governors in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, and across America fighting for new powers. Others include: Chamber of Commerce billionaires, Koch brothers, Forbes 400, Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform — which now has 97% of House Republicans and 85% of the GOP Senators signed on his “no new taxes” pledge — the Tea Party and Reaganomics ideologues.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-civil-war-erupts-led-by-super-rich-gop-2011-03-22?pagenumber=1

  11. Truth says:

    Thank you Marion, excellent piece. And let’s hope Dems are not THAT stupid, really!

    I think exposing fake progressives may be crucial here. Here’s what Cher alerted me to: http://www.politicalruminations.com/2011/03/opportunist-arianna-huffington-reverts-to-true-colors.html

    The article speaks about AH hiring Breitbart. Moreover the author reveals something that I didn’t know about the nuisance Jane Hamsher:

    Like Huffington, Hamsher has also teamed up with a much despised Right Wing ideologue, Grover Norquist, and like Huffington, she has spent much of the first two years of the Obama presidency on various television shows, as well as on her website, shrieking about how President Obama is just not ever good enough. All that shrieking, as well as the blatant encouragement by Hamsher’s drones to sit out the election, contributed much to our huge losses in November 2010.

  12. PocketWatch says:

    I think there may be a misperception here.

    I believe that what we call “The Left” (or the far Left, or the radical Left) these days is very, very far to the conservative side of the political spectrum compared to a standard ’60s Leftie.

    Why do I think that?

    Because the whole spectrum has shifted over the last 50 years. What we call “Left” these days is very conservative in a lot of ways. Nixon would be a Leftie, and LBJ would be considered a wild-eyed Socialist, even by a standard, run-of-the-mill Joe Sixpack Democrat in this day and age.

    I take the shift in the media from fairly independent news organizations to corporate infotainment to task for this change in attitudes. The loss of the Fairness Doctrine in media is the ultimate cause, and the loss of the notion that the airwaves and bandwidth is owned by the people, a part of the commons and our very own infrastructure and that must be regulated by our government is also a part of the picture. Once we lost those things, it was all over but the shouting. The idea that information was to be honest and honestly disseminated ensured that the public is critical to democracy, and that is long gone. Now, all most people know is whatever the corporate shills in our government and the media want us to know. The 5% that think and want to know more use the internets.

    Remember the old adage, “Knowledge is power.” The corollary to that is “Ignorance is weakness.”

    The powers of fascism work very hard to keep the majority of Americans very, very weak.

    • coffeegod says:

      My ghod, PW, ‘The powers of fascism work very hard to keep the majority of Americans very, very weak.’

      That, sir, may just be the best summation of the political shitstorm of the last decade. Yeah, Reagan may have started it. Hell, Nixon may have started it but Dubyah’s regime took it to a whole, new level.

    • agrippa says:

      I find it difficult to find sources of true and accurate facts and analysis. The loss of the fairness doctrine has made the problem worse. And, it has led to a loss of commons. I, too, use the internet, and most of my information comes from the internet and books for perspective. That is how I found this place. For immediate news, I mostly use BBC and Reuters; sometimes the Guardian and Independent.

      The loss of the Fairness Doctrine has been harmful and people like Murdoch have taken advantage.

      • Truth says:

        Indeed, agrippa. In other countries he wrecks damage too, but he can’t demolish as much as in the US. New media laws are URGENTLY required!

        • agrippa says:

          We do need to reinstate the fairness doctrine. Urgent is the right word.

          A NY Senator -- Schumer, I think -- said that Mudrdoch is the most important man in the country. He has gotten, arguably, as big as Hearst was in his day.

          Finding good and honest reporting is too hard for 95% of the people. Only about 5% are willing and able to do that amount of research.

        • escribacat says:

          Truth, you speak the truth. The fairness doctrine needs to be reinstated.

          • Truth says:

            e’cat, yes, whatever exactly it would be today -- it would need adjustments with the Internet and Cable and all that. The question is: who would have to reinstate the FD (and how)?

            I ask because I don’t know how it should be done in practical terms.

            ***Edit: oh yes, google, what an idea…. I didn’t get Facebook stuff though… but here’s something interesting:

            Released: July 25, 1997
            The Wisdom Fund, P. O. Box 2723, Arlington, VA 22202
            Website: http://www.twf.org — Press Contact: Enver Masud
            Broadcasting Fairness Doctrine Promised Balanced Coverage

            by Enver Masud
            WASHINGTON, DC —

            The passing of media ownership into fewer hands, the potential for conflicts of interests, and the virtual exclusion of significant opposing viewpoints are good reasons to reevaluate the broadcasting Fairness Doctrine, and it’s potential for obtaining more balanced coverage of Islam and Muslims.

            Ain’t it the truth?!

    • Truth says:

      I take the shift in the media from fairly independent news organizations to corporate infotainment to task for this change in attitudes. The loss of the Fairness Doctrine in media is the ultimate cause, and the loss of the notion that the airwaves and bandwidth is owned by the people, a part of the commons and our very own infrastructure and that must be regulated by our government is also a part of the picture. Once we lost those things, it was all over but the shouting. The idea that information was to be honest and honestly disseminated ensured that the public is critical to democracy, and that is long gone. Now, all most people know is whatever the corporate shills in our government and the media want us to know. The 5% that think and want to know more use the internets.

      PW, yes, agreed, and now? Do you think we should just accept that this is lost, OR….. should we not rather DO something about it, and if yes: what?

      • lynettema says:

        We need a ‘People’s Cable Channel’ where both sides of an issue are discussed with NO spin. Sort of the antithesis of FAUX. I think Media Matters would be a good place to start. We could all sign up as financial contributors, but would have to make it a monthly or yearly commitment. Of course if there were any liberal views expressed in a positive manner, it would immediately become socialist in the rw point of view. We elected a president with our small contributions, maybe we could support a cable channel.

        • Truth says:

          lynettema, maybe that would be an idea too -- yet it would be decried as a liberal leftwing socialist anti-american blah blah blah.

          I’d prefer to shut THEIR mouthes though as far as their lying and inciting hatred is concerned. It’ s crazy that there are no laws to prevent that! I mean you do get punished if you yell “fire” in a crowded theater when there is no fire, and rightly so. Not so with the RW on tv/radio!

          They do know that they are doing wrong, and that’s why they yell the loudest about first amendment rights. Maybe the talk should turn to first amendment DUTIES for a change!

          Anyhow, I found some good information and a ton of links, which I posted on OT. No idea about the age of that site though, so many links may not be there anymore, but I’d be still excited about all the ideas.

      • PocketWatch says:

        Truth, interestingly enough, it is my understanding that the airwaves and the resulting bandwidth is STILL owned by the people, but the FCC is unwilling or unable to enforce any sort of regulations on the business users of those items. I’m not sure why. Since the FCC is under the auspices of the Presidential part of the government as an agency (yet needs funding from Congress, of course), I suspect that the meme of “private does it better” has taken hold and needs to be shaken loose.

        Unless and until the American people begin to again have a sense of ownership of both the things we all own in common and that government is needed, I doubt much will change. Unfortunately, solutions are political.

        • Truth says:

          PW, if e’cat or you (or both) start a project about this I’m in. I really wonder why nobody seems to tackle the issue of the Fairness Doctrine or firm media regulation.
          There are some media conferences, but I don’t remember having read about some far reaching demands as of now. But I can be wrong and may have overlooked/not found existing initiatives. So I would be glad if I were proven wrong.

          • PocketWatch says:

            Truth, the reason no one seriously attacks the current situation in relation to the Fairness Doctrine, is for 2 reasons.

            First, it is misunderstood. People think that it requires equal time for all parties that are reported on. Any time the issue is brought up, the MSM latches onto that like a limpet and spreads this lie until the issue goes away. The reality is that the Fairness Doctrine as it used to be simply states that when there is an ADVOCACY ad or piece, competing sides need to be OFFERED equal time. It doesn’t have to be for free.

            Second, the FD has to do with honesty. It used to be that you could not knowingly offer opinion as fact, fudge the facts, make things up, or generally lie about things. Well, we all know who and what will not be happy with THAT being restored! So, again, elements within the MSM will fight to have the status quo maintained at all costs.

            It is a circular thing… the majority of people will never hear unbiased facts because the very people they listen to or read will never tell them the truth about the Fairness Doctrine and what it really means.

            Thom Hartman has said a lot about this in the past.

            • Truth says:

              Thanks, PW. Yes, the problem is that those who hold the power don’t want to give it back once they hold it, no matter if they hold it rightfully or not.
              Yet I can tell you the state of the US media was the biggest shock I had about this country. Just as an example, that a Palin could go on and on lying and was not called out for it was and is beyond me. So definitely something should happen here. I may also check out TH’s archives.

              As I repeat time and again, I don’t know any other major democracy whose information system is as corrupted than the one in America.
              Maybe to reclaim the airwaves, insisting they belong to the public at large, would be a way to go.

  13. agrippa says:

    The criticism is mis placed. But, that is par for the course; as a president gets the credit and takes the blame. I expect Obama to be hated or loved. It is one of things that Americans do -- hate or love a president.

    Most of the blame lies with the 111th Congress -- especially, the Senate -- it is that Congress that passed those laws. We have separation of powers and it it the task of Congress to enact legislation; it is not the task of the president.

    The task for activists who want these progressive laws passed is to get progressives, who will pass those laws, elected to Congress.

    I have no problem with people criticising Obama; they have the right to do so. I think that it is misplaced.

    • lynettema says:

      I don’t think Marion believes we should not be disagreeing with the President. She is saying that continually bashing him is going to cause him to lose the election. Calling him names, calling for impeachment is over the top. Our leaders and pundits are the worst offenders.

  14. KQuark says:

    Per usual Marion you spark a terrific debate.

    But to be fair if we compare liberal Dems to conservadems. Liberal Dems have delivered for president Obama time and time again from the stimulus on forward. It was the conservadems that voted against the president on the ACA and other important legislation, especially the more progressive elements of bills. If fact it was only the most liberal Senators that supported the president when it came to funding the closing of Gitmo.

    I believe liberal Dems have been much more supportive of the president in the media as well. Now the way progressive pundits behave is another story altogether.

    OK now that we have put that in perspective.

    Kucinich is 100% wrong about the president’s actions in Libya. Like Cher pointed out there is full legal precedent for the US to support the UN in military actions like this. He’s playing right into the right wings hands on this and it’s shameful.

    • Mild Bill says:

      Liberal Dems, ConservoDems, In-BetweenDems, they all are PO’d with Mr. Obama. The only people that aren’t? His wife and kiddies! And no matter how angry the Rethugs seem, from near center all the way to far, far, faaaar right, are secretly in love with Obama! He’s their ‘wet dream’ come true! The Patriot Act, Gitmo, secret black ops, increasing our military footprint worldwide, tax breaks for the rich, and worst of all (for us working class stiffs), he’s sounding out the possibillity of SS and Medicare reductions! But, the Rethugs HAVE to act like they hate him. But they attack him for golfing (like Boehner), taking vacations and trips every other month (like GWB), you know, the little things. This story reminds me of Brer Rabbit where he cries out, “Whatever you do, don’t throw me in that briar patch!”. But we all know that’s EXACTLY where he wants to be.

      If you ask me, when Obama wants something, he goes straight to the Repubs because he knows he doesn’t need his “base”. That’s why he doesn’t meet with the Dem Leaders. He knows their stance.

      And my fellow Ohioan, David Kucinich, is just the cat’s meow, caterwauling as he does. Who in Congress listens to him anyway? He’s one of the most ineffective members of Congress EVER! Why, he’s the mouse that roared!

      • choicelady says:

        I think you’re incorrect that most Dems are dissatisfied with Obama. The polls don’t reflect that at all. I think his constant and steady pacing of statesman-like deportment and actions are very reassuring to most people.

        Like it or NOT, conservatives have rights. Even the wingnuts. Hearing them out defuses a great deal of their bluster and blather. I am all for it. We have NO idea what goes on behind closed doors, but I’m seeing very little leadership around Obama bashing on the right at all about anything which makes me think Obama got their attention over what they will LOSE if they keep playing in the extremist lot. They are discovering their worst enemies are their fellow extremists. The divisions among members in the GOP part of Congress are shocking in their degree and rapidity. Who knew they’d fall apart the FIRST DAY?

        Oh, well -- can’t say it breaks my heart!

        • Mild Bill says:

          How many times are we going to count the Rethuglicans out? Every time we do, they bounce back stronger than before! And if you think the howling that union workers are doing in Wisconsin sounds loud, wait until Mr. Obama makes the statement how he thinks it’s fiscally responsible to cut SS checks and reduce Medicare expenditures for the good of the economy! I’m not saying that Mr. Obama isn’t holding steady at, what 43% in popularity, but 43% ain’t good either! And that’s counting Dems/Libs/Progs in these polls! There is, however, less and less agreement with his foreign policies and his dealings with Wall Street among his base. Foreclosures are starting to grow to percentages of 2008 again. The job outlook isn’t getting any better. All the indicators aren’t looking too good for him in the near future.

          He’s one calamity away from losing all his support from all Americans, especially if the Republicans see an opening to take advantage of.

          I hope and pray that things work out, not only for him, but for ALL OF US!

          G’nite, PlanetPOV! Sleep tight…don’t let the bedbugs anywhere near your homes!

          Franklin D. Roosevelt “Four Freedoms” Speech -- January 6, 1941
          ———————————————————


          It’s frightening how NOTHING changes, even with time’s passing. What we were fighting against 70 years ago is the same today!

      • KQuark says:

        Phil Graham was wrong we don’t have a nation filled with whiners. We have a nation filled with wannabe comedians.

        • Mild Bill says:

          In my opinion, true comedians are rarer in society than any other profession. They are the eyes to the soul of Mankind. They bring things to light better than any psychologist, teacher, soothsayer or prophet. More truth is found in a joke than all the books on socio-cultural, political or economic problems. And EVERYONE seems to get the “joke”. No explanations are necessary.

          Let me know when you’d like to hear a good joke and I’ll oblige your wish!

        • Mild Bill says:

          I tend to lean towards how Buddha describes us. “Why should one be a mental prodigy and another an idiot?” Like a jigsaw puzzle piece, it fits more snuggly into place in the grand scheme of things.


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