>In this week’s address, President Obama said that once business resumes in Washington, he looks forward to working with members of both parties to meet the challenges facing the country. By working together in a spirit of common cause, the President and members of Congress can face these challenges in a way worthy of the voters who sent them to Washington.
Category Archives: Republicans
>President Obama’s Weekly Address 1/15/11: "Before We are Democrats or Republicans, We are Americans"
WASHINGTON – As Democrats fear a wave of losses in next Tuesday’s elections, due in part to a lack of enthusiasm within their base, one progressive champion made an impassioned plea for liberals to head to the polls and and vote.
“We can get out there and make our voices heard, or we can let the forces of nihilism take over,” Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) told Raw Story in an exclusive interview late Tuesday afternoon.
The Cleveland Democrat warned progressives that a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives – a likely scenario, according to election experts – could surrender the levers of power to “megalomaniacal neoconservatives who are more in need of mental attention.”
“There’s no question about it,” he said. “We have to vote.”
Kucinich, a seven-term congressman who seems to be in no danger, sympathized with liberals who are disenchanted with the Democratic Party, but insisted they must “work within the system” to achieve the results they want, arguing that tuning out wasn’t a better solution.
“I would never try to minimize their concerns. I understand them,” he said. “I wish we had broader options. I certainly don’t like our political system, but I’m not prepared to walk away.”
If there’s anyone in Congress who shares liberal misgivings about the Obama administration, it’s Kucinich. From health care to the economy to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, he has been outspoken about his criticisms. “But this election is a choice,” he said.
Studies reveal that both of the major parties are unpopular with the public – some even say Americans still prefer Democrats – but polls consistently show that Republicans are far more likely to vote next Tuesday.
An NBC/Wall Street Journal survey last week found that Republicans are more likely to head to the polls on Nov. 2 than Democrats by a whopping 20 percentage points.
Kucinich, who ran unsuccessfully for the presidency in 2004 and 2008, said he doesn’t envision any circumstance in which he’d run again in 2012.
“I don’t see it,” he said. “I think anybody who runs against Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination would be handing the presidency to the other party on a silver platter.”
>By Michael Winship
Posted at Consortiumnews.com
October 20, 2010
ConsortiumNews Editor’s Note: Sadly but predictably, the two years of economic pain and the anger over the first African-American president are combining for a particularly nasty election as Tea Partiers see, within their grasp, their goal of “taking our country back.”
The 2009 phenomenon of armed protesters threatening to unleash violence against Washington over health-care reform has morphed into Tea Party candidates surrounding themselves with thugs determined to silence reporters and intimidate opposition voters, as Michael Winship notes in this guest essay:
One of the most memorable moments in television coverage of American politics came during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968.
Out on the streets, anti-Vietnam war demonstrations were attacked viciously by law enforcement officials in what later was described in an official report as “a police riot.”
Inside the convention hall, tightly controlled by the political machine of the city’s notorious Mayor Richard J. Daley, CBS correspondent Dan Rather was attempting to interview a delegate from Georgia who was being removed from the floor by men in suits without ID badges.
One of them slugged Rather in the stomach, knocking him to the ground. As the reporter struggled to get his breath back, from the anchor booth, Walter Cronkite exclaimed, “I think we’ve got a bunch of thugs here, Dan!”
It was an uncharacteristic outburst from America’s Most Respected Newsman, indicative of just how terrible the violence was both inside and out and how shocking it was for a journalist to be so blatantly attacked while on the air by operatives acting on behalf of politicians.
As appalling as that 1968 assault was, thuggery is nothing new in politics; it transcends time, ideology and party.
But what’s even more disturbing in 2010 is how much of the public, especially many of those who count themselves among the conservative adherents of the Tea Party, is willing to ignore bullying behavior – and even applaud it – as long as the candidate in question hews to their point of view.
Here in New York State, of course, we have Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, who combines the boyish charm of J. Edgar Hoover with the sunny quirkiness of Pol Pot.
So extreme are Paladino’s views, so volatile his temper, that even Rupert Murdoch’s right wing New York Post has endorsed Democrat Andrew Cuomo, which is a bit like the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano dissing the Pope and singing the praises of Lutherans.
Doubtless this is in part because Crazy Carl, as he is affectionately known to many, almost came to blows with the Post’s state political editor, the redoubtable Fred Dicker, shouting “I’ll take you out, buddy!” at Dicker.
The journalist had asked Paladino for evidence to back up allegations the candidate was making against Cuomo. Paladino claimed the paper was harassing his out-of-wedlock daughter.
The Post had to admit that Paladino is “long on anger and short on answers… undisciplined, unfocused and untrustworthy — that is, fundamentally unqualified for the office he seeks.”
Okay, Paladino will lose, but in other parts of the country, Tea Party-supported candidates with a similar bullying, threatening attitude, or who seem to surround themselves with such people, are more likely to win.
Republican Allen West, endorsed by Sarah Palin and John Boehner, is leading in his race against incumbent Democratic Representative Ron Klein in South Florida’s 22nd Congressional District.
A retired Army lieutenant colonel, West resigned from the military, according to the progressive Web site ThinkProgress.org, “while facing a court martial over the brutal interrogation of an Iraqi man. …
“According to his own testimony during a military hearing, West watched four of his men beat the suspect, and West said he personally threatened to kill the man. According to military prosecutors, West followed up on his threat by taking the man outside and firing a 9mm pistol near his head, in order to make the man believe he would be shot.”
You can’t make this stuff up: Last week, NBC News reported that West has been communing with a notorious Florida motorcycle gang, the Outlaws, which the Justice Department alleges has criminal ties to arson, prostitution, drug running, murder and robbery.
And on Monday, West could be heard at a rally urging some bikers – also with Outlaw connections – to “escort” out a Klein staffer who was video-recording the event.
“Threats can be heard on the videotape,” said a reporter from NBC’s Miami affiliate. “West supporters forced him to get back into his car.”
The West campaign responded that “the latest attacks aimed at associating … Allen West with a criminal and racist gang are completely baseless and nothing short of a hatchet job.”
So what’s with the photograph of him glad-handing bikers who according to NBC brag about their association with the Outlaws? And why did West tell a supporter to back off when concern was expressed about “criminal organization members in leather” appearing at West’s campaign rallies?
Which brings us to Joe Miller, the Republican and Tea Party candidate for the United States Senate from Alaska.
On Sunday, at a Miller town hall, private security guards hired by the campaign – two of whom were moonlighting, active-duty military – took it upon themselves to detain a reporter pursuing Miller with questions, placed the reporter under citizen’s arrest and handcuffed him – then threatened to detain two other reporters who were taking pictures and asking what was going on.
The plainclothes rent-a-cops, complete with Secret Service-type earpieces and Men in Black-style neckties and business suits, come from an Anchorage-based outfit called DropZone Security, which also runs a bail bond service and an Army-Navy surplus store – with one of those anti-Obama “Joker” posters pasted to its window.
One-stop shopping for the vigilante militiaman in your life – kind of like that joke about the combination veterinarian-taxidermist: either way you get your dog back.
All of this would be funnier if not for the fact that this kind of hooliganism and casual trampling of First Amendment rights from people who claim to embrace the Constitution as holy writ is symptomatic of a deeper problem.
The anger of the electorate is understandable: politicians and politics as usual have given voters much about which to be mad; furious, in fact. But bullying is different. It comes from insecurity and fear, and lashes out with tactics of intimidation. To dismiss it as merely a secondary concern and say “I’ll take my chances” as long as the candidates in question agree with you is dangerous.
Scuffling with the press and others may seem minor, but it’s just the beginning. In states where there is early balloting, already there are allegations of voter harassment, primarily in minority neighborhoods.
The only way to fight back against bullies and thugs is to stand up and tell them to go to hell. To do otherwise is to give an inch and prepare to be taken for the proverbial mile. That way lies madness. And worse.
Michael Winship is senior writer at Public Affairs Television in New York City.
>The President explains that even as we focus on creating jobs immediately, we must also ensure the economy is better for our children by investing in education – not cutting it by 20% as Congressional Republicans propose.
>By Danny Democrat @ NJDems.com
A 2003 study published by the American Psychological Association concluded that political conservatism is rooted in “fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity” and other psychological factors.
According to the article, “Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition,” four researchers who culled through 50 years of research literature report that the core of the right-wing ideology is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality. http://berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/07/22_politics.shtml
The emergence of the Tea Party movement has ignited passion among the most extreme adherents of conservatism in Republican politics, a phenomenon ending the careers of many longtime GOP establishment politicians.
Terror management is another psychological factor that influences conservatism, along with a need for certainty and cognitive closure. These primal instincts help define what makes a political conservative at a time in history when human survival probably depends upon a greater adherence to logic and reason.
Research has shown that people in a state of distress by nature are prone to the allure of charismatic leaders but it’s hard to imagine what would have happened if unbridled emotions drove the Kennedy white House in October 1962 instead of cool intellect. http://library.thinkquest.org/11046/days/index.html
Tea bag conservatives reject science as part of their blind loyalty to discredited anti-intellectual ideas and self-righteous faith-based morality, because by not allowing facts to dillute their perspective, they achieve the certainty they prize. http://silentmajority09.com/2010/09/24/conservatives-assault-science/
The leading tea baggers exhibit ultra-conservative craziness that seems to be overlooked by many voters who would normally object the their agenda: Ken Buck, Christine O’Donnell, Rand Paul, Sharron Angle,Carl Paladino, Mike Lee, Joe Miller, Marco Rubio and others. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/15/september-14-primary-elec_1_n_717242.html
Colorado Republican Ken Buck wants to outlaw birth control and a common fertility treatment and he says teenage rape victims should be forced to have babies. http://www.9news.com/news/elections/article.aspx?storyid=151144&catid=140
Republicans advocate a regressive 30 percent sales tax on everything you buy – which they call ‘the fair tax’ — while cutting income taxes again for the richest three percent of the people, tax breaks for multinational corporations that export American jobs. http://www.factcheck.org/taxes/unspinning_the_fairtax.html Regressive taxes make the poorest pay higher rates than the wealthy so Republicans are entirely disconnected from the American people, even if some Democratic incumbents have disappointed many people.
Republicans want to repeal President Obama’s Wall Street reforms, repeal the new rules that stop insurance companies from dumping sick children, repeal changes helping America’s war veterans — and then they want to tie down the administration with subpoenas and investigations that will preclude the president from solving any real problems facing Americans. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20011464-503544.html
Social Security and Medicare are one again in the Republican crosshairs, with Rep. John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, planning to cut benefits and raise the retirement age. http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/106135-boehner-raise-social-securitys-retirement-age-to-70
The author of the GOP agenda, Paul Ryan, has put a plan on the table would end Medicare as we know it and leave the nation’s seniors to the private insurance industry. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-Klein/2010/08/paul_ryans_plan_would_end_medi.html
Most of these ideas are well outside the main stream but if Democrats keep pushing for health reform, jobs creation, restrictions on Wall Street and credit cards — essentially all the things they stand for — then they could be in for more than a political fight.
Nevada Republican Sharron Angle said armed rebellion against the federal government saying, “if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies…” and she sought support from members of a right-wing extremist group, “The Oath Keepers,” whose members are police or military personnel who believe they need not follow orders and which was formed “In response to the obscene growth of federal power and to the absurdly totalitarian claimed powers of the Executive…” http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/06/reid-opponent-embraces-patriot-group-that-warns-of-giant-concentration-camps.php
Perhaps to enable ‘those Second Amendment remedies,’ for political New Jersey state Sen. Jeff Van Drew wants to make it easier for residents to carry handguns. http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/09/nj_senator_pushes_law_allowing.html
The bizarre policy positions are weighted with even more extreme anti-government craziness. According to a Sothern Pverty Law Center report: “U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said she feared that the president was planning ‘reeducation camps for young people,’ while U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), evoking memories of the discredited communist-hunter Sen. Joseph McCarthy, warned of 17 ’socialists’ in Congress.” http://www.splcenter.org/images/dynamic/main/The_Second_Wave.pdf
The same report stated:
[Fox News host Glenn] Beck is just one of the well-known cable TV news personalities to air fictitious conspiracies and other unlikely Patriot ideas. CNN’s Lou Dobbs has treated the so-called Aztlan conspiracy as a bona fide concern and questioned the validity of Obama’s birth certificate despite his own network’s definitive -debunking of that claim. On MSNBC, commentator Pat Buchanan suggested recently that white Americans are now suffering “exactly what was done to black folks.” On FOX News, regular contributor Dick Morris said, “Those crazies in Montana who say, ‘We’re going to kill ATF agents because the U.N.’s going to take over’ — well, they’re beginning to have a case.”
The insane ideas are being backed up by action. The Second Wave includes a chapter outlining 75 right-wing terrorist plots, conspiracies and racist rampages since 1995, when conservative Republican Timothy McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma City federal building, killing 168 people, including 19 children in a day-care center, and injuring another 500. http://www.splcenter.org/images/dynamic/main/The_Second_Wave.pdf
In March 2010, after the report was published, nine Hutaree militia members were arrested in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, for alleged involvement in a plot to murder a law enforcement officer and then attack police officers at the funeral using illegal explosives and firearms in order to incite revolution against the government. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hQlDq4d5Js2bVnV83z7R1ORbsZPA
People who make up the Tea Party movement are largely conservative and get their news from Fox; they’re generally old and of moderate to low income; and they’re fairly convinced that their taxes are going to rise in the next few years, even though they won’t.
“It’s the type of group that would likely benefit the most from Democratic governance, with commitments to Social Security, Medicare, and middle-class job creation,” said that report.
Tea baggers also have exceedingly poor views of President Obama. In the aforementioned poll, 81 percent disapproved of his job performance.
The scientific research identified the paranoia and obsession with certainty associated with conservatism but here are some hard examples of how they depart from reality and embrace delusion:
Fueling the myth mongering that Barack Obama is not a natural-born U.S. citizen, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said in a recent interview that the president may follow a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview.
Southern Baptist Pastor Carl Gallups suggests Obama isn’t just Kenyan — he’s also the Antichrist.
Such lunacy is not being immediately rejected by voters. Crazed tea baggers won Republican nominations for seven U.S. Senate seats, for New York governor and for dozens of seats in Congress. They are all over the place on ballots for city council, mayor, plus county and state offices.
A Harris poll cemented the notion of the scary conservative who believes that President Obama is many things that, factually, he is not.
The Harris Poll of 2,320 adults surveyed online between March 1 and 8, 2010 finds that large numbers of Tea Party supporters have not just extremely hostile opinions of President Obama but believe many of the false statements about him circulated on cable news and the internet.
The numbers among Tea Party supporters are scary, indeed: 67% believe the President is a socialist, although Harris didn’t do anything to verify that respondents knew what that word meant. More than half believe he is a Muslim,
The real sizzlers, are the 45% who believe he wasn’t born in the US, and the 25% who say he “may be the Antichrist” and 24% who say he wants the terrorists to win. These people think our president is a Nazi-esque Muslim Antichrist. http://www.harrisinteractive.com/NewsRoom/HarrisPolls/tabid/447/ctl/ReadCustom%20Default/mid/1508/ArticleId/117/Default.aspx
The Republican leadership’s willingness to flirt with ideas like the birth certificate conspiracy, or their insistence that health care reform is an “apocalypse,” paints all Republicans as unhinged loons and obliterate conservative credibility.
If you are still thinking about voting Republican, please see a mental health professional at once.
>The President explains how the most dire warnings about the Citizens United case have been proven valid as Republicans in Congress have blocked legislation to fix it.
>Voter have choice this November — between Democrats who are moving America forward, and Republicans who want to take us back to the failed policies of the past.
“Republicans don’t realize that extending the Bush tax cuts will strengthen the deficit monster that’s going to eat our babies”
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
From the Huffington Post
Last night on “The Daily Show” Jon Stewart took on Republicans for their dramatic words about the deficit and simultaneous defense of the Bush tax cuts. While conservative pundits refer to the deficit as “crushing” and dangerous to our “children and grandchildren,” Stewart worried that the GOP doesn’t understand what’s causing the deficit they fear so much in the first place. “Do they not realize that the tax cuts strengthen the deficit monster that’s going to eat our babies?”….
The President calls on Republicans in Congress to put scoring political points aside, and instead to focus on solving the problems facing the nation. At the time of this address, the Republican leadership is blocking progress on a bill to boost the economy, retain jobs for teachers and cops, and help people buy their first home; another bill which would hold oil companies accountable for any disasters they cause by removing the current $75 million liability cap; and 136 highly qualified men and women who have been nominated to government positions.