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Posts Tagged ‘democrats’

Considering the increasingly obvious phenomenon that the officials we elect to represent us are largely unable or unwilling to do so, I would like to propose the following legislation. In keeping with the cockamamie names often bestowed upon Acts of Congress, I hereby present the Compulsory Limits on Earnings, Assets and Numerous Ulteriors Pending Year End Reporting Act, otherwise known as the CLEANUPYER Act.

Be it resolved that:

a. Upon election to office, an officeholder’s assets shall be placed in a savings account and will lose or gain funds at the end of the officeholder’s term according to the following principles:

  1. For each percentage point gain in the median household income during the officeholder’s term, there will be a corresponding percentage point increase in the saved funds; and
  2. For each percentage point drop in unemployment,  there will be a corresponding percentage point increase in the saved funds; and
  3. For each percentage point increase in the high school graduation rate,  there will be a corresponding percentage point increase in the saved funds; and
  4. The reverse case of all of the above will lead to a corresponding decrease in the saved funds, and;
  5. For each ‘earmark’ requested by an officeholder, there will be a percentage point decrease in the saved funds, and;
  6. Should Congress declare war and the President execute same, there will be a percentage point decrease in the saved funds for every 3 months of the war’s duration; and
  7. Should any legislature adopt this Act, the officeholders voting ‘aye’ will receive a twenty-five point increase in the saved funds in addition to the above provisions.

b. Elected officials shall receive a stipend not to exceed twice the median income of their constituents.

c. Elected officials shall for a period of one year after leaving office be ineligible to take positions with either lobbying firms or industries which have directly benefited from legislation enacted during their term of office.

d. On election day, prospective officeholders will report to a neutral area to await results, refusing contact from lobbyists or other parties which may seek to influence forthcoming legislation.

e. In addition to the existing reporting of campaign contributions, any unaffiliated entity will also disclose the sources of its funding.

It is my fervent hope that there will one day be a government which would pass this Act. Perhaps then I would even begin to trust my government.

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I hear you’re feeling very disillusioned with President Obama lately.

Allow me to remind you of a few notable accomplishments:

  1. Passed credit card reform.
  2. Passed Wall Street reform.
  3. Passed health care reform.
  4. Repealed DADT, and is dismantling DOMA.
  5. Ended the Iraq war.
  6. Restored the standing of the United States with allies Bush alienated.
  7.  Passed a stimulus package which almost certainly prevented a second Great Depression.
  8.  Got Osama bin Laden.

And all of this in the face of an ineffectual Senate majority (Dem) and obstructionist House majority (GOP), and laboring under an economy wrecked by eight years of Bushism.

Many of the Presidents in our history books would would have been lauded as heroes had they accomplished this much in eight years, and Obama has done so in three. And here you are saying it’s not enough.

There is still a lot of work to do, and a lot about the nation which could be improved. But for crying out loud, let the man do his job. You supposed “progressives” are whinier than John Boehner, and your inability to take the long view is becoming almost as obnoxious as Rush Limbaugh.

I still believe in Yes We Can… because we have.

I still believe in Yes We Can… because we still can.

I will be voting for Obama in 2012… because if I stay home the way many of you are talking about doing, I will not delude myself into thinking I am making a statement, and will richly deserve President Gingrich, President Santorum or President Romney.

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Like many of you, I have been following the doings of the Obama administration and the 111th United States Congress with considerable despondency.

While the ‘politics of hope’ message inspired a great many people, it’s easy to say that sort of thing when one is campaigning, but very difficult to get it done.

This is especially true, I believe, for the left-leaning end of the political spectrum, where part of the ethos is the willingness to include a variety of viewpoints, to reach compromises and generally to try to “make nice” with as many people as possible.

At this point, however, the Republican opposition has become increasingly obstructionist and stubborn, often seemingly to the point of opposing much-needed common-sense legislation for no other reason than it having been put forth by a Democrat.

But there was a filibuster-proof Senate super-majority, wasn’t there? The Dems were going to be able to cram through any measure they wanted.

Here’s the problem. A super-majority requires party unity. Party unity is hard to come by when you’re including lots of differing views under one big tent. This is especially true when among the differing views include folks such as Joe Lieberman, representing the minor and unofficial “Whatever It Takes to Benefit Joe Lieberman” party, and Ben Nelson, representing the larger but similarly unofficial “I’m Only a Democrat Because That Made Me Electable” party.

Obama himself is similarly handcuffed by this process due to the separation of powers. By the time something makes it to his desk, it’s hardly worth his time to read it.

So scratch party unity. But the message should still be compelling, yes?

Yeah, well.

The right-siders, whether Cheney or Limbaugh, Palin or Steele, have been very good at the art of the five-second soundbite. Remember the “death panels”? The “socialist agenda”?

The Republican message, starting back in the Bush years, has been one of fear. Be afraid that the terrorists will attack your city next. Be afraid that Obama will allow doctors to kill your grandmother. Be afraid that the Democrats will tax you into poverty.

The Democratic message, from most quarters at least, has been, “Hey, that’s not true, quit being so mean. Incidentally, I still respect your right to say it even though I disagree with you, but I still think you’re being unnecessarily mean about it. Perhaps we can meet somewhere in the middle. Or possibly even slightly toward your end from the middle.”

Which of those is the more compelling message?

In this country, most of us grow up with the overarching societal concepts of divine judgment and knee-jerk patriotism, two notions which have been blended together very skillfully by the religious right. As such, being “un-American” is as much a sin as any violation of the Ten Commandments and a charge gleefully thrown at any so-called liberal to whom it will stick. “Socialist”, recalling as it does notions of Russia and Eastern Europe, has much the same effect.

So if you’re even remotely undecided, are you more likely to vote for the people who tell you you’re hell-bound if you don’t, or for the people without the balls to stand up to them?

No wonder the Democrats have gotten nothing done.

Want hope? Want change? Let’s see some real leadership from Reid and Pelosi, or a change in leadership if those two can’t get it done. Let’s see Team Blue get their own soundbites own there, show the Republicans a little backbone. Let’s see the insightful and incisive puncturing of the over-inflated rhetoric. Why are you appeasing the people who have screwed you over time after time after time?

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Or at least, it may feel that way to one Harry Mason Reid, currently Senate Majority Leader.

With the election – at last – of Al Franken, the Democrats have the “filibuster-proof supermajority” of which much has been said.

However, I think such things as the recent House vote on Waxman-Markey (the ‘climate change bill’) show that there is no such thing as party unity within Team Blue. That vote saw some moderate Dems vote no due to its potential effect on their constituents, and some highly liberal Dems vote no because the bill was not progressive enough.

Surely the Senate is blessed (or plagued) with the same diversity of opinion.

Can we assume that Al Franken and Arlen Specter will vote the same way on… well, anything?

Reid has often said that if only he had a supermajority at his disposal, he could ensure passage of a great many bills on the Obama agenda – but does he, really and truly, have the votes?

In practice, the Dems may now be able to come together enough to force down the threat of filibusters, but the bills will still have to stand on their own merits, or fall on the lack thereof.

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Oh, sure. I put up a politics-related post, and some misfit senator has to go and make a party switch. Way to go, Arlen Specter. Thanks for ensuring that you’re the only political thing anyone wants to read about on a day when I posted about something entirely else.

Aw, who am I kidding? It’s pretty sweet. The Senate has another Democrat. Admittedly, it’s a guy who was the Dems’ easiest target when they needed to win a vote from across the aisle, but it serves to send the message that the Republican Party is increasingly becoming a minority party simply due to their incessant attempts to play to the hysterical far-right base.

This switch doesn’t mean that much in terms of the actual votes. Sure, the Republicans don’t really have the option to threaten a filibuster any more (especially if/when Coleman runs out of options and Franken finally gets seated), but Specter and the other more moderate Senators on both sides will still be voting their consciences rather than sticking to the party line. Otherwise, nobody would actually give a flying fuck about Senator Nelson other than his Nebraska constituents.

What this means, perhaps crucially, is that in 2010, when Specter is up for re-election, he will probably get the Democratic party nomination and beat Pat Toomey handily. Had he stayed Republican, Toomey would probably have beaten him out in the primary and the Senate would have lost a longtime voice of reason. (NB: by ‘reason’, I mean an intelligent, level-headed moderate. I don’t always agree with Specter, but I don’t hold with extreme ideologues on either side.)

Despite the general inclination to vote his conscience, though… in order to consolidate his position as a Democrat, Specter may throw his backing behind some of the more crucial reforms of the Obama agenda which he otherwise might not have; this would make it all the more likely that he gets the nod in ’10.

So welcome to the party of Yes, Arlen Specter. Good to have you.

Now if we could just get Norm Coleman to FREAKING QUIT ALREADY. YOU LOST. GET OVER IT.

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