“will accede to Republican demands for extending tax cuts at all income levels”

Obama has already signaled he will accede to Republican demands for extending tax cuts at all income levels ...

Was it Tuesday the President signaled that, I was sick then and maybe didn't get the news. Or was it earlier, 2009, 2008, or early in his Presidential run? Or has he been a money and power shill since his beginnings at that Chicago real estate privatization law firm?

The full quote actually refers to resistance in Congress to extending tax breaks for our nation's richest. Both Obama and his AP court scribe decide to demean this as mere posturing (they're more than likely right, but I think it's revealing (to those who havent' 'gotten' Obama) how quick and comfortable Obama is insulting Democrats' populism (has he ever insulted Sarah Palin as he does now his fellow Democrats in Congress, as a posturing fake?)):

Two days after [Obama] and newly empowered Republicans exchanged pledges of cooperation at the White House, President Barack Obama expressed optimism about the prospects for agreement in time for enactment by year's end.

Still, he cautioned, "That doesn't mean there might not be some posturing over the next several days."

Not long after he spoke, Democrats ignited a partisan row in the House with legislation that would prevent taxes from rising on lower- and middle-income wage earners but allow them to rise for people at higher incomes.

The measure has no chance of passing the Senate, and Obama has already signaled he will accede to Republican demands for extending tax cuts at all income levels, making the vote purely symbolic.

 

There's more...

Why Are Democrats Going to Lose When They Are More Popular?

There is a fascinating disparity in these 2010 elections. When asked which party will cope better with the issues facing this country over the next couple of years, Democrats win 42-38%. When asked who will handle the economy better, Democrats win 44-37%. When asked which party you approve of more in Congress, Democrats win 36-30%. Yet, they're about to get wiped out.

Why? Obviously, it has nothing to do with the Republicans because they are the only thing that has lower approval ratings than the Democrats. A gigantic 67% of the country disapproves of the Republicans on Congress (a Congress they're about to hand them). Nearly every poll shows general disdain for the Republican Party.

So, if it's not that the voters like the Republican Party or find their answers to our problems particularly appealing (they lose on almost every issue in the polls), what is causing this possibly enormous electoral shift? I think the answer is two-fold.

The first is obvious - voters are throwing the bums out. The Democrats are the party in power and they are paying the price when the country is in bad shape. This is Politics 101. People don't like what's happening, they vote out whoever is in office. That's democracy and it also makes some intrinsic sense generally (though in this case, it makes no sense since they are putting back in power the people who caused the problems in the first place).

Secondly, it's because the Democrats didn't deliver. They said there was going to be big change and that they were going to take care of the middle class. And they didn't. I'm not saying that because I disagree with the size of the stimulus, or gays in the military or whether we had the public option or not. This is not about whether we had sufficient change on specific issues (that's a good debate for another time).

No, this is about broader issues. Did you deliver for the average American voter or did you deliver for Wall Street? Come on, look at the numbers. Wall Street is backing to make record profits and bonuses and we're at nearly 10% unemployment. People aren't stupid. They got robbed. The system didn't get fixed. It's still rigged in favor of the rich and powerful.

Some liberals, progressives and Democrats will accuse me of party treason for saying that. They're right, I don't give a damn about the parties. In this day and age, I would never vote for a Republican in a national election because they have shown themselves to be a completely owned subsidiary of the rich and the powerful. They have demonstrated gross incompetence and are purposely derelict in their duty to the voters. But that doesn't mean I have to be excited about the Democrats. Who is excited by Blanche Lincoln? Other than corporations who bought her years ago.

The Democrats said they were going to bring change - and they didn't. That is their fundamental error. And that is why they are being voted out right now. But knowing how Washington works, they will not get that through their thick skulls. Instead, they will probably go further toward the jackals on the right after this election. They will cater to big business, Wall Street and the top 1% of this country even more after this election - and then wonder why people don't trust them.

I have a crazy suggestion for you guys, which I am sure the Washington establishment will hate with every fiber of their being - why don't you fight for us, the average American voter, over the next two years and see how that works out? Why don't you take on the powerful and punch them in the face (politically)? Why don't you take the fight to the Republicans and tell them you are going to stop the banks from robbing us no matter what happens? Why don't you tell the Washington media to shove it next time they suggest you work with the Republicans in cutting taxes for the rich and balancing the budget on the back of the poor and the middle class?

But you won't. You know it, I know it and the American people know it. You will bow your head and call populism a dirty word and keep catering to the lobbyists and the donors in a desperate attempt to appease them more than the Republicans do.

The system is broken. No one represents us. The special interests and the corporate interests have bought all of the politicians. So, when the American people throw the bums out, they are right. Unfortunately, this time around they are going to replace them with far, far worse bums. But they are going to learn that lesson the hard way. And next time, they'll throw them out again. And they'll keep doing that until one of the parties gets it through their heads that the Washington establishment does not represent the American people. They represent the powerful. And the more you cater to them the more the American people will hate you. And vote you out of office.

Watch The Young Turks Election Coverage Here

Follow Cenk Uygur on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheYoungTurks
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Why Are Democrats Going to Lose When They Are More Popular?

There is a fascinating disparity in these 2010 elections. When asked which party will cope better with the issues facing this country over the next couple of years, Democrats win 42-38%. When asked who will handle the economy better, Democrats win 44-37%. When asked which party you approve of more in Congress, Democrats win 36-30%. Yet, they're about to get wiped out.

Why? Obviously, it has nothing to do with the Republicans because they are the only thing that has lower approval ratings than the Democrats. A gigantic 67% of the country disapproves of the Republicans on Congress (a Congress they're about to hand them). Nearly every poll shows general disdain for the Republican Party.

So, if it's not that the voters like the Republican Party or find their answers to our problems particularly appealing (they lose on almost every issue in the polls), what is causing this possibly enormous electoral shift? I think the answer is two-fold.

The first is obvious - voters are throwing the bums out. The Democrats are the party in power and they are paying the price when the country is in bad shape. This is Politics 101. People don't like what's happening, they vote out whoever is in office. That's democracy and it also makes some intrinsic sense generally (though in this case, it makes no sense since they are putting back in power the people who caused the problems in the first place).

Secondly, it's because the Democrats didn't deliver. They said there was going to be big change and that they were going to take care of the middle class. And they didn't. I'm not saying that because I disagree with the size of the stimulus, or gays in the military or whether we had the public option or not. This is not about whether we had sufficient change on specific issues (that's a good debate for another time).

No, this is about broader issues. Did you deliver for the average American voter or did you deliver for Wall Street? Come on, look at the numbers. Wall Street is backing to make record profits and bonuses and we're at nearly 10% unemployment. People aren't stupid. They got robbed. The system didn't get fixed. It's still rigged in favor of the rich and powerful.

Some liberals, progressives and Democrats will accuse me of party treason for saying that. They're right, I don't give a damn about the parties. In this day and age, I would never vote for a Republican in a national election because they have shown themselves to be a completely owned subsidiary of the rich and the powerful. They have demonstrated gross incompetence and are purposely derelict in their duty to the voters. But that doesn't mean I have to be excited about the Democrats. Who is excited by Blanche Lincoln? Other than corporations who bought her years ago.

The Democrats said they were going to bring change - and they didn't. That is their fundamental error. And that is why they are being voted out right now. But knowing how Washington works, they will not get that through their thick skulls. Instead, they will probably go further toward the jackals on the right after this election. They will cater to big business, Wall Street and the top 1% of this country even more after this election - and then wonder why people don't trust them.

I have a crazy suggestion for you guys, which I am sure the Washington establishment will hate with every fiber of their being - why don't you fight for us, the average American voter, over the next two years and see how that works out? Why don't you take on the powerful and punch them in the face (politically)? Why don't you take the fight to the Republicans and tell them you are going to stop the banks from robbing us no matter what happens? Why don't you tell the Washington media to shove it next time they suggest you work with the Republicans in cutting taxes for the rich and balancing the budget on the back of the poor and the middle class?

But you won't. You know it, I know it and the American people know it. You will bow your head and call populism a dirty word and keep catering to the lobbyists and the donors in a desperate attempt to appease them more than the Republicans do.

The system is broken. No one represents us. The special interests and the corporate interests have bought all of the politicians. So, when the American people throw the bums out, they are right. Unfortunately, this time around they are going to replace them with far, far worse bums. But they are going to learn that lesson the hard way. And next time, they'll throw them out again. And they'll keep doing that until one of the parties gets it through their heads that the Washington establishment does not represent the American people. They represent the powerful. And the more you cater to them the more the American people will hate you. And vote you out of office.

Watch The Young Turks Election Coverage Here

Follow Cenk Uygur on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheYoungTurks
Become a Fan of The Young Turks on Facebook: www.facebook.com/tytnation

 

 

Progressive Populism on the Rise

I have written a bit on what I call "progressive populism" -- the trend we have seen in the country that, like its conservative cousin, comes from a deeply seated anti-elite and anti-establishment sentiment, but which is unique in that its manifestations are less anti-government than opposed to powerful interests. As seen in Oregon earlier this year, this trend led to the first income tax increase approved by voters in 80 years, one directed at the wealthy and at corporations. Now word comes from SurveyUSA, via Swing State Project, that voters in Washington are exhibiting the same kind of progressive populism in a strong way:

A proposed initiative would create an income tax in Washington state on people making $200,000 per year and on couples making twice that. It would also cut the state's portion of the property tax by 20%, and end the business and occupation tax for small businesses. Do you support? Or do you oppose? This proposed initiative?

Support: 66 percent
Oppose: 27 percent

This measure, which would increase revenue while not raising taxes on the middle class, earns strong support across the board from the Washington electorate -- not only from Democrats (75 percent of whom support the initiative) but also from Independents (63 percent support) and even Republicans (57 percent support). Remarkably, the initiative draws support even from self-described Conservatives, who support the measure by a 50 percent to 45 percent margin.

I have said it before -- including in the halls of the West Wing: Progressive populism works. If the Democrats hope to be tap into some of the clear unhappiness of the electorate, rather than letting that discontent sweep them out of office, they would be well served to read these numbers and learn that while voters are definitively in an anti-establishment mood, they are not necessarily in an anti-government one, and, what's more, their unease about the current economic climate might actually compel progressive, rather than conservative, change if framed effectively.

Stoking the Fires

Extremists and populist movements are exploiting people's fear of those who are not like us. We can see the consequences in the form of terrorism and racially motivated violence. - Kjell Magne Bondevik

As the rhetoric continues to heat up around our political discourse I think it is important to understand the ramifications of such rhetoric. While there are those who see it as a vehicle to accomplish their short-term political aims, I think we should step back and look at its long-term consequences. It appears that as part of the Republicans long-term strategy of crippling the federal government and making it look impotent in solving real large-scale problems in the lives of its citizenry (except of course in the case of war and national security) they have decided that to help stoke the fires of populist anger they are going to use every tool available in our political system to obstruct the power of the government in any way they can.

While this strategy may yield the short-term political points they seek, what they are either unwilling to accept or willingly hoping to bring about is the total collapse of the faith of a nation in its government. Governments were created for a reason. What governments were created to do was to allow societies to take groups of people with differing selfish pursuits and allow them to unite under a larger purpose. While I would be the first to say that governments haven’t always lived up to their lofty goals I am not ignorant enough to believe that they are unnecessary. We as nation should be always debating the intrusion and scope of government in our everyday lives but the debate we should not be having is the loss of government. Now there are those who will say that the removal of government is not the debate we are having today, but when you intentionally sabotage the ability of governments to serve their people and then hype up the hyperbole concerning governments over-reaching and inability to serve those needs it doesn’t take a rocket science to figure out what the natural outgrowth of that will be.

So one must ask what would be the benefit to politicians to encourage the loss of government. The answer is simple really without the government to look out for those who cannot look out for themselves the rich and powerful will have unfettered rule over our daily lives. Now while you may believe that having government intrusion into your life is intolerable that would in no way compare to the intrusion that corporations and other tools of the wealthy would exert in our lives. The rules that the government currently have in place to protect consumer safety, equal treatment under the law, and financial regulations would only be obeyed at the discretion of the corporations and the wealthy. Being a student of history I am not willing to rely on the “kindness of strangers” to protect me against the greed and corruption that would be sure to follow any loss of government protections. One only need to remember as far back as…..last year!

There is a reason we have Social Security. Prior to its enactment seniors in America were forced to work until they died. There is a reason we have child labor laws. Children were taken out of school and forced to provide cheap labor. There is a reason while we have civil rights legislation. Minorities and women were systematically excluded from our society. So these populist movements that yearn for the good ole days obviously are not familiar with their history or they are choosing to use some kind of selective amnesia. Either way as we become a more diverse nation the idea of going backwards to some false Norman Rockwell Americana will not hold much appeal to a great many Americans who were not depicted in those paintings. The population that these types of appeals reach out to is dwindling and as their lack of diversity demonstrates it is not resonating with the majority of Americans.

My advice to the folks who are stoking this anger for short-term gain is be careful what you wish for. When hatred and vitriol become your platform you never know who or what is going to jump out of Pandora’s Box. As any lion tamer will attest when the lions are hungry they have very short memories.

Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. - Franklin D. Roosevelt

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