Democrats Winning Strategy

History isn't on the GOP's side, either. If keeping the top marginal tax rate at 35 percent—the rate under Bush, and the rate that Republicans are fighting to preserve—spurs so much hiring, why didn't America experience any job growth at all during Bush's time in office? And if a top marginal tax rate of 39.6 percent—the rate under Bill Clinton, and the rate that Democrats are fighting to restore—is such a job killer, why did payrolls grow by 20 percent during the 1990s?Newsweek Blog

I have become so tired of the gloom and doom of the Democrats in the upcoming mid-term elections. It seems everywhere you turn the news keeps getting worse. Based on these reports there won’t be any Democrats left in the Congress following November. I believe that the Democrats can not only survive November but can also prosper. In order for this to happen they will have to do a number of things that Democrats historically don’t do very well.

The first thing they will have to do is to craft a coherent message that they all unite behind. Because of their lack of a national message the Democratic caucus is plagued by rogue members who feel little if any national allegiance to the party. Because so many of their members are products of local issues and electorates too often Democrats are left with the type of majorities we’ve had the last two years. The Dems have been a majority in name only and incapable of crafting a cohesive governing philosophy. What we don’t need and I am certainly not suggesting are litmus tests like teabaggers or wing-nuts, but instead we need to have certain principles that make us Democrats. I know that we have the general terms of working for the middle-class and for the downtrodden, but that is so open to interpretation that it provides little structure in times of great calamity like the ones we are in. As a party the Dems should craft a set of principles that all members of their caucus agree to work and fight for. And once accepted it should be provided to the American people as a contrast to the Republicans. This message should be honed and offered by all candidates as the governing philosophy of this party. Those who are unable to uphold these principles are free to run as independents or Republicans.

The second thing they should do is at every interview, town hall, and campaign stop carry a chart of the federal deficits under all presidents dating back to Eisenhower. This chart should appear in all of the ads and should become the mantra of the party. They should all provide the American public with an image of the failed policies of these fiscal conservatives who have always preached one thing and done another. This would be a symbol to all but the truly partisan of the duplicity of this party and their unrelenting assault on the middle-class. This is the type of symbol that resonates with the independent voters. This President and these Dems were elected by drawing just such a sharp contrast between their policies and the policies of the wing-nuts. Unfortunately, in America it is not enough to just talk about the lack of consistency and the hypocrisy of the Republicans many of our citizenry need an illustration to drive home points. The success of the bumper sticker rhetoric of the wing-nuts will bear this fact out. This point of preaching austerity and yet every chance they get to govern they raise the deficit to record highs must be repeated over and over. The Dems should take a page from the wing-nuts and that is if you repeat something long enough and loud enough people begin to accept it as fact.

Finally the Dems should propose sweeping public improvement and infrastructure projects to attack the intransigent unemployment that is gripping this nation. It is time to force the Republicans to either support the American people or be seen for the hypocrites they are. Regardless of anyone’s political persuasion few can argue against the historical truth of the “New Deal”. It is time for the American people to get another new deal. Just as FDR recognized the economy had been shanghaied by the wealthy of his time so it is again today. Instead of hoping to negotiate with those seeking short-term greed, it is time for this President to call them to task for the sake of the country. No group, no single person’s agenda can be allowed to supersede the greater good of the majority of Americans. It is time for the Dems to go on the offensive. If they truly believe that they have the best minds with the best plan for America then now is the time to show it. The time has come to craft a set of programs that will actually stimulate the economy and reduce unemployment and at the same time they must demonstrate how implementing these initiatives will in the long run reduce the long-term deficit by fueling the expansion of the economy. Just as the New Deal laid the foundation for the greatest expansion of the American economy in our history so it must be done again.

If the Dems are going to survive and keep the momentum now is not the time for timidity, instead it is the time for bold visions and actions. The Republicans have shown that they are devoid of any new ideas to address the major challenges we face as a nation. So rather than cowering in the corner waiting for the day of reckoning the Dems must provide the American people with a stark contrast of the future of America. If the Dems cannot defeat the rehashed ideas of the past then they are not worthy to lead into the future.

“When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people: those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened.” - John M. Richardson, Jr.

The Disputed Truth

The Fala Speech

The opposition in this year has already imported into this campaign a very interesting thing, because it is foreign. They have imported the propaganda technique invented by the dictators abroad. Remember, a number of years ago, there was a book, Mein Kampf, written by Hitler himself. The technique was all set out in Hitler's book - and it was copied by the aggressors of Italy and Japan. According to that technique, you should never use a small falsehood; always a big one, for its very fantastic nature would make it more credible - if only you keep repeating it over and over and over again. - Franklin Delano Roosevelt, The Fala Speech

With nearly one in five Americans believing that Barack Obama is a Muslim and with 55 percent thinking that he is a socialist, I have been reflecting on FDR and in particular a speech he gave on September 23, 1944 to a meeting of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America. It was an election speech with FDR in the midst of a presidential campaign against Thomas Dewey. That speech is remembered as the Fala Speech as it references FDR's Scottish Terrier, Fala.

Then, as now, the GOP did what it does best - it employed the big lie. Among the lies the GOP was plying then was that the Great Depression was caused by Democrats even though the stock market crash came in October 1929 when Herbert Hoover was President. But while elephants never forget, the noxious pachyderm that is the GOP hopes that you do. Both Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Rep. Steve Austria of Ohio had the temerity to suggest last year that FDR caused the Great Depression. Nor is that unlike the meme that the GOP has floated now that the cause of our economic trouble now is all attributed to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The parallels on the big lie are so striking that they now even include the White House pet. In 1944, GOP operatives accused FDR of leaving Fala in the Aleutian Islands and then sending a destroyer back to find him. In Obama's drama, Bo, the Portuguese Water Dog, stands accused of being shipped by the White House on a separate jet to Maine on purpose. That's not some nutcase blog pushing that misinformed meme, it is a group with ties to Rick Perry called GOP-USA. GOP-USA is described by its owner Bobby Eberle as a news/information/commentary outlet, and is, as its name implies, a Republican and "conservative" advocacy group. The reason that Bo was flown separately is that the President's B-747, the normal Air Force One, was too large to land at the the small Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport in Trenton, Maine. Instead, several smaller craft flew the President and his detail. Bo went with one of the President's agents, his personal aide Reggie Love. Hardly some conspiracy to defraud the taxpayers.

As with the right wing noise machine generally, lies are produced daily if not hourly in the hopes one sticks in the national media. The disinformation over the Islamic Cultural Center in lower Manhattan is, for example, traceable to Pamela Geller's Atlas Shrugged website and Robert Spencer's Jihad Watch website.

There are many differences between FDR and Barack Obama, and let's be frank, Obama lacks the humor and grace of FDR but the President needs to find his voice if not his spine. His strange and perturbing aversion to political confrontation is about to sink the Democratic party, the progressive agenda for perhaps the rest of this decade.

Some fights are worth having and all lies are worth exposing. The failure to fight back on these lies and to mock the Republicans into submission has been Obama's greatest flaw. Bipartisanship is dead, it has been dead for a generation. To believe much of  the GOP sane and rational is insane and irrational. Pick just about any Republican candidate for office and the insanity drips like wax on a candle. Sharron Angle thinks our laws are based on the Bible, Rand Paul thinks it is okay to discriminate on the basis of race, Dan Maes thinks a bike-sharing program is the path to UN tyranny, the Florida GOP wants to bring back internment camps for illegal immigrants, the Iowa GOP rants on about a non-existent 13th Amendment that banned honorific titles, the Idaho GOP wants to bring back gold and silver currency, the Maine GOP is against the UN Treaty of the Child that tackles child soldiers and child-trafficking, the Wyoming GOP opposes all government competition with private enterprise including the Post Office. At some point, the President has to call them out or he will be confined to the trash bin of history.

A video excerpt is below and you can listen to the full speech here.

If Obama is to save his Presidency, he'd better take a few lessons from Roosevelt and quick. The full text of the Fala Speech is below the fold.

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What Two Presidents, A Cigarette, A Wheelchair, and the Media Have in Common

It has been fashionable to compare President Barack Obama to many of his predecessors. Liberals, facing the toughest midterms since 1994, have taken to recalling the presidencies Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan – two men who faced similar challenges during the same parts of their terms, yet ended their terms with high approval ratings and respected legacies. Conservatives prefer the example of former president Jimmy Carter.

In the early days of the Obama presidency, it was also rather fashionable to measure Mr. Obama against another president: the late Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Nowadays this comparison is less used. Mr. Obama and Mr. Roosevelt, however, do have at least one interesting similarity – and it is a similarity few talk about.

It begins with Mr. Obama. The current president is a consistent consumer of the tobacco industry’s products. In other words, the president smokes, and he does so regularly. If rumors are to be believed, after a long period of attempting to quit, the pressures of the highest office have caused the president to smoke more frequently than ever.

Not many people know this fact. Indeed, there is not a single known picture of Mr. Obama smoking while president; most of the pictures that do show him smoking are actually photoshopped images.

One might wonder what this has to do with Mr. Roosevelt. The answer is that Mr. Roosevelt, like Mr. Obama, had a personal weakness which in no way affected his capacity to be president, but which at the same time was viewed unfavorably by many Americans.

Mr. Roosevelt’s story is more well known. In 1921, at the age of 39, the future president contracted polio while vacationing in Canada. The disease left the president paralyzed from waist down and unable to walk.

As president, however, Mr. Roosevelt took pains to hide his disability from the public. In public appearances, the president never appeared in a wheelchair; to this day there exist only a few pictures of a wheelchair-bound Roosevelt. The media cooperated willingly, just as it does with Mr. Obama today. Whether Mr. Roosevelt was paralyzed or not didn’t really matter; he was still a fine president.

It is commonly held that the modern media no longer accords presidents the trust and privacy which they held in Roosevelt’s time, especially after the Watergate scandal. While the media hid JFK’s affairs from the public, it did not do the same for Mr. Clinton.

Yet, as the example of Mr. Obama’s smoking indicates, this is not entirely true. Just as the media played a willingly accomplice to FDR in hiding his paralysis from the public, it does the same today with the smoking habits of Mr. Obama. Even Fox News doesn’t run many stories about the president’s vice.

All in all, this constitutes a net positive. When Mr. Roosevelt was president, his physical condition had no bearing upon his abilities as commander-in-chief. The same holds true for Mr. Obama.




Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot

by linfar, Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 04:05:13 PM EST

On the eve of a new year with so many behind me now, I can only wonder how many may still be in the wings?

And as I review the year's events--although some may overlap a bit with  the calendar-- in my heart this is the year that my mother died, that the Democrat in the White House provoked prolonged Screaming inside my head, if not on paper, and I gave away my cat.

I also began to seek a new life partnership motivated by a gratitude about being alive that seemed to open doors heretofore invisible.

This is also the year I  began to rethink my membership in the Democratic Party. This was not a deliberate act. It was more a slowly evolving dissatisfaction like a sore that one absent mindedly scratches until you look down and see blood oozing.

Republicans, how low can they go?

(Cross-posted from Think it Through)

Most of the time the big story lies hidden under the topline data.  The latest Pew Poll is no exception. While the poll headlined the story that the public sees more partisan bickering now than it did in January, the most interesting finding to me was that just 21 percent of Americans now identify themselves with the Republican Party.  A year ago 26% of Americans self-identified as Republicans, and six years ago it was 30%.  In fact, you have to go back a whole generation to 1977 to find Republican identification as low as 21%.

This exodus from the Republican party has not turned people into Democrats, but rather it has increased the population of independents from 31% a year ago to 40% today in Pew's poll.

In order to bring these voters into the Democratic camp, President Obama needs to convince them that his agenda for change reflects their values. All of our experience over the last two years demonstrates that Barack Obama understands their values better than the Republicans and much better than the conservative, or "practical", Democrats. In last fall's election, Obama won many of these voters by appealing to the values of responsibility and fairness as a contrast to the decade long drumbeat of freedom, individualism, and superficial patriotism.  His more reasoned, careful and caring approach to the country's problems helped him win majorities among segments of the electorate that are uncommon for Democrats, including moderates, voters with college degrees, and people earning over $200,00 a year.  He has four years to turn these anti-Bush voters into Obama democrats.  There is evidence he is off to a good start.

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