Standing Up for Women’s Rights

Let’s put this nonsense to bed forever. If the opportunity comes up to stand up for women’s rights – the only moral reaction is to seize that opportunity and fight to win. Failing to do so is not shrewd, playing to the middle, or anything other than weakness.

Digby:

For the sake of victims of domestic violence, VAWA should be reauthorized as soon as possible, but Democrats need to remember that we all know they’re in the midst of a tough election contest, too. Fight the good fight for women, but please, leave the noble posturing at home.

That’s right, it’s a tough election fight and the last thing Democrats need is to look like all they care about is a bunch of whiny bitches. Let’s not lose our heads here. 

Believe me, this is not an uncommon reaction. How do I know this? Because I’ve been watching this go down for my entire adult life. Any time “women’s issues” start to become prominent, a certain kind of liberal male gets very nervous. The stuff I heard during the 1992 “year of the woman” election was enough to curl my hair. And I see no reason to believe anything’s changed. I’ve already seen plenty of evidence that it hasn’t.

This is a noble fight. Advising Democrats to pretend it isn’t kills your credibility.

Act Blue Turned Conservadem

I was reading a post on Crooks and Liars about Maddow blasting Conservative Democrats when a familiar name popped up (source TPM):

“Conservadems like Jon Tester and Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman are siding with the Republican senators, who are siding with no voters — not even their own!” Maddow exclaimed, noting a recent CNN poll that found that 63 percent of Republicans favored saving the jobs of teachers and first responders.

That name rang a bell… Oh right here he is, and again here with other “netroots” candidates.  What should we do with outsider candidates we vigorously supported and helped win office, when they turn directly against us once in office?

Help vigorously support their primary opponents.

Obama the Compassionate Compromiser

August Pollack nails it:

The 2012 Republican nomination race seems to be a battle over which candidate has the most proven record of being horrible to people. Thankfully, the president feels that we can reach a compromise and only kick people in the head instead of the balls. I am so ready to win the future.

Make the compassionate choice: concussions over nut-kicks.  Just as Bush was dubbed a “Compassionate Conservative”, Obama has proven himself a “Compassionate Compromiser”, a tool of corporate interests and no friend to privacy rights.  He’s up against what is looking like a truly horrifying Republican field with the two most likely candidates, Bachman and Perry – full on psychotic theocrats hell bent on a Ultra Conservative Christian Nation.

Here is our choice in 2012:

Obama on the Debt: Weaker Than Weak

Boehner walked away from debt talks with Obama.  Given how insanely far Obama has bent, this is madness.  Or maybe just good strategy.

Obama has ruled out the simple answer, the constitutional option.  However that, coupled with how this damning quote (emphasis mine), slams home the reality that our President wants to sabotage his own efforts:

“Essentially what we had offered Speaker Boehner was over a trillion dollars in cuts to discretionary spending. Both domestic and defense,” Obama told reporters in a hastily-arranged White House press conference.

“It is hard to understand why Speaker Boehner would walk away from this kind of deal and frankly, if you look at the commentary out there, there are a lot of Republicans puzzled as to why it couldn’t get done.”

He said the American people were “fed up” with political posturing, and said he was willing “to sign an extension of the debt ceiling which takes us through 2013.”

The nation needed to do more, Obama added, though adding that he would accept a fallback option if that was the best deal lawmakers could strike.

That’s a fallback that would go beyond the already overly conciliatory and generous offer the President made.  This is not the first time this kabuki dance has taken place on the national stage, but it is strikingly naked.

How Obama is Working Hard for President Huckabee or Romney

When President Obama was elected he had several key things going for him:

  1. He wasn’t the Republican heir to George W Bush
  2. He represented a party that stood for economic issues near and dear to the vast majority of the voting public
  3. He promised to cut down on lobbying and corruption
  4. He was a brilliant public speaker
  5. He promised to fight bipartisan bickering and give us a functioning government

Based on the combination of his anti-lobbying anti-partisan approach, he framed himself successfully as a new kind of politician.  He was able to excite his party base with his oratory, his youthful energy, and the fact that he wasn’t George W Bush in a nation decidedly sick of the man.  He didn’t just win, Obama enjoyed a telling victory in 2008.

Let’s look at those same points now.

Obama isn’t the Republican heir to George W Bush

Still true, but only because he has become the Democratic heir to George W Bush, and Dick Cheney (Glenn Greenwald @ Salon):

But the crux of Bush/Cheney radicalism — the mindset and policies that caused much of the controversy — continues and has even been strengthened.  Gen. Hayden put it best, as quoted by The Washington Times:

“You’ve got state secrets, targeted killings, indefinite detention, renditions, the opposition to extending the right of habeas corpus to prisoners at Bagram [in Afghanistan],” Mr. Hayden said, listing the continuities. “And although it is slightly different, Obama has been as aggressive as President Bush in defending prerogatives about who he has to inform in Congress for executive covert action.”

And that list, impressive though it is, doesn’t even include the due-process-free assassination hit lists of American citizens, the sweeping executive power and secrecy theories used to justify it, the multi-tiered, “state-always-wins” justice system the Obama DOJ concocted for detainees, the vastly more aggressive war on whistleblowers and press freedoms, or the new presidential immunity doctrines his DOJ has invented.  Critically, this continuity extends beyond specific policies into the underlying sloganeering mentality in which they’re based:  we’re in a Global War; the whole Earth is the Battlefield; the Terrorists want to kill us because they’re intrinsically Evil (not in reaction to anything we do); we’re justified in doing anything and everything to eradicate Them; the President’s overarching obligation (contrary to his Constitutional oath) is to keep us Safe; this should all be kept secret from us; we can’t be bothered with obsolete dogma like Due Process and Warrants, etc. etc.

He’s extended the same Bush Tax cuts he campaigned against.  In fact his rush to compromise and fiscal conservatism masquerading as bipartisan centrism has been so severe that it has crushed the second key thing he had going for him.

Obama represents a party that defends the economic interests of working people

With revenue cut and war/terror spending increasing, there was bound to be a collision.  Couple that with the President’s obsessive need to appear as the bi-partisan philosopher-king, and you get negotiation tactics so inviting to the opposition it makes John Boehner look like a teary Jack Donaghy.

The quaint term “austerity measures” doesn’t capture the human cost of paying for tax cuts and tax evasions for wealthy individuals and large corporations.  Those cuts are already being felt, and will be even more severe when 2012 rolls around.  They aren’t just budget cuts, they are deep cuts into the voting base for Democrats across the country, and those cuts are going to badly injure Obama’s re-election chances.  (John Amato @ Crooks and Liars):

Every poll shows quite clearly that even Republican voters do not want a cut in these benefits.

If Sperling’s argument is about reforming Social Security and Medicare without taking away from them, then OK, but that’s not what I’m reading here. Do these creatures only listen to Villager gasbags who want working-class Americans to be the only people to “share” the sacrifice and suffer in America after Wall Streeters and their partners caused the Great Recession?

Obama is casting himself as the friend of the wealthy and the enemy of the working class at a time he needs to do the opposite.  His hands are tied by his bipartisan image at a time he desperately needs to break free.  But you get the sense he likes it that way.  Obama has become the willing prisoner of a small aspect of his election campaign – unable and unwilling to break free and become true to what he ran for.  This is especially clear when one considers lobbying.

Obama promised to cut down the influence of lobbyists and K-Street

Obama has

All of this casts his much touted ethics reform in such a harsh light the reform isn’t even visible to the voting public anymore.

Where does this leave us?

Obama is still fighting the supposedly good fight on being bipartisan.  As Digby has observed over and over, this is a one sided battle.  The Republicans – down to their votes – don’t give a damn about being bipartisan and compromising.  They care about winning.  That imbalance will surely lead to the Democrats losing.  Obama is still an amazing public speaker but with the way he’s been running things you have to ask – who is going to go hear him speak?

Regardless of whether the religious right, the corporations, or the tea party are able to exert enough influence to secure the Republican nomination in 2012 one thing is clear.  If Obama doesn’t change course they will secure more than just the primary.

DC Should Suspent Garbage Collection for Congress

Since Congress is going to shut down to appease the Republicans (who will settle for nothing less than complete Democratic obedience) – this means DC will need to cut services:

The city would close Department of Motor Vehicles locations and suspend public works operations like street sweeping, and the city would let a week go by before collecting trash, Gray said. All of D.C.’s libraries would be closed, as would the city’s recreation centers.

Why not cut off trash collection and cleaning for Congress (and all congressional offices) until the budget has been passed?

Pocket Guide to the Budget Debate

Here’s what you need to know when engaging with Republicans and ConservaDems on the budget.

Our deficit is about $1.2 trillion a year.

We are spending just over $1.2 trillion a year on our military.  We are basically spending our deficit every year on our military.

Extending the Bush Tax Cuts is costing us $860 billion a year.

Corporations are not paying their fair share in taxes, costing us billions more a year in lost revenue.

Republicans (with support from many Democrats) want to enact “austerity measures” – which basically means “cuts for the poor and middle classes”.  These measures total $61 billion, a dollar amount spread thin over a massive number of programs:

From education to job training, the environment and nutrition, few domestic programs were left untouched – and some were eliminated – in the measure

If we did away with the Bush tax cuts, lessened loopholes corporations exploit, and trimmed programs for the military (like their sponsorship of NASCAR) we could totally eliminate the federal deficit.

As it stands today the likelihood of this happening is nil: the intelligence, foresight, and will to enact an approach like this is missing in Washington.  Instead we will reap the benefits of tax immunity for corporations and the wealthy, and austerity measures for everyone else: decreased spending power in an economy that relies primarily on spending power to function.