An Underrated Development in the Ann Romney/Hilary Rosen Discussion
One underrated thing I noticed about this whole Ann Romney stay-at-home mom discussion is that the Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen, who initially called Ann Romney out for not working a day in her life, sounds… well… like a real honest to god living breathing Democratic strategist. And me-oh-my has it been a LONG time since the Dems actually sounded like they have coherent talking points that Americans can get behind.
Now in case you missed it here is exactly what Hilary Rosen (a political pundit and Democratic Party strategist) said about her comments to Ann Romney…
What ever happened to Wall Street? The problem with confusing tactics and strategy
Ever since protesters were forcibly removed from Zuccotti park and other encampments around the country, the occupy movement has seemed conflicted about how to proceed. There has been talk about occupying homes, occupying schools, and even occupying the Super Bowl. One constant throughout this discussion, however, has been a general decline in interest from the general public. The movement is no longer a regular presence in the headlines and, in those cases when it does attract public attention, the coverage seems to be more negative than positive (take the Oakland protests for example). Now there are obviously a lot of reasons for this, and it is certainly not the fault of the occupy movement that we have a sensationalist media that is, for the most part, dominated by corporate interests. However, one reason for this decline in public interest, and one that I think needs to be addressed if the occupy movement is going to take that next step forward, has been the movement’s tendency to mistake tactics for strategy. In short, I think we may need more wall street and less occupy.
The Hypocrisy of Mitch Daniels and the Death of the American Dream
Last night, in the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels accused the President of pursuing an economic agenda that has essentially thwarted the pursuit of the American Dream for an entire generation. It is therefore up to Republicans, on his analysis, to do something about it. To quote him directly, “As Republicans our first concern is for those waiting tonight to begin or resume the climb up life’s ladder. We do not accept that ours will ever be a nation of haves and have nots; we must always be a nation of haves and soon to haves.”
To be honest, I couldn’t agree more. Our current generation of young people is the first in our nation’s history that is going to have less education than their parents. We currently have a greater disparity between rich and poor than at any other time since the 1920’s. And, to top it off, the United States now has the most stratified class system, and the least opportunity for upward social mobility, of any other industrialized nation. Unfortunately, while Republicans like Daniels may be saying the right things about restoring the American Dream, the actual policies they are pursuing are doing exactly the opposite.
Three Questions: What You Need to Know About Bradley Manning
Editors Note: In case you don’t know… Bradley Manning is the Army soldier who’s been charged with treason for releasing classified documents to Wikileaks. The charge carries a sentence of life imprisonment or death. There’s been a U.N. investigation and… it seems… Manning has been tortured and isolated during his year-long imprisonment. In this post, the gang answers three of your most pressing questions…
Republican Mythbusters #5: The Small Business Argument
Every time Democrats propose anything that would be good for working people (more progressive taxation, a higher minimum wage, universal health care, etc.) Republicans claim that the legislation would hurt small businesses. Currently, Senate Republicans are using this line as a justification for their filibuster of a Democratic attempt to extend a payroll tax reduction that would save working families an average of 1000 dollars a year. Democrats plan to pay for this extension with a small tax on millionaires that, according to the Republican rhetoric, would reduce the ability of small businesses to hire more workers. However, as a story that recently aired on NPR reveals, Republicans haven’t been able to identify a single small business owner who would actually be impacted by this legislation.
Is Liberal Anger Misplaced?
Last week, New York Magazine published an article by Jonathan Chait analyzing the widespread liberal disappointment with President Obama. In short, Chait’s argument was that this happens every time a Democrat is elected to office. Liberals have unreasonably high expectations, they are inevitably disappointed, they unfairly compare the current President to inaccurate idealizations of past leaders, and they look for another leader who is pure and won’t “sell out.” According to Chait’s analysis, however, the problem is more with liberals themselves than with the presidents they elect. While there certainly are some aspects of the Obama presidency that liberals can and should take issue with, Chait argues that there is something about modern liberalism that leads to the same dynamic of hope, dissappointment, and later idealization that, at least according to his argument, has been playing itself out since the beginning of the progressive movement in the early 20th century.
In my view, Chait has it half right. I think he’s mostly correct that the problem is not primarily with liberal presidents. However, this doesn’t mean that the problem is necessarily liberals, or progressives, themselves. As far as I can see, the real problem lies in the structural aspects of our political institutions and culture that all but require progressive presidents to make the kind of self-defeating compromises that we’ve seen from President Obama. Chait briefly hints at this analysis but, in the end, his focus on liberal expectations draws our attention away from the real issues that need to be the focal point of a successful progressive movement.
Republican Mythbusters #2: Government spending and jobs
Back in 2009, when Congress agreed to President Obama’s stimulus plan, it received only 3 Republican votes in the Senate (and that was only because Democrats agreed to remove tens of billions of dollars in much needed aid to support struggling state governments). At that time, and increasingly ever since, we’ve heard the same Republican talking point over and over again: the stimulus package was a failure because government spending doesn’t create jobs.
The Strife of Obama Apologists
Here’s the scenario. A piece of legislation come up for discussion in congress. The national media takes to the discussion with ferocity. The Democrats demand one thing, the Republicans demand another. Inevitably there’s a compromise that’s typically a let-down compared to the potential gains (from a progressive point of view) but is still technically a baby-step away from how radically conservative the current law is written.
Conservative scream about how the President’s liberal agenda is going to destroy America. Liberals scream that Obama is the weakest President ever, question his loyalties to the progressive cause, and claim he’s betrayed them. Obama’s numbers in the polls continue to drop. And nothing changes.
The real lessons of the 1986 tax reform
Republicans and Democrats have been talking about reforming the tax code foryears. However, as the deadline for the deficit super-committee draws near, these discussions have taken on a new degree of seriousness. Republicans like Herman Cain, who think that the best tax policy is the one that most closely resembles a computer game, have been advocating a general flattening of tax rates. Democrats like President Obama, who see taxes as a source of much needed revenue during a protracted recession, have proposed closing corporate loopholes and ensuring that millionaires pay something resembling their fair share.
More astute members of the media, like NPR for example (listen to today’s story here), have begun drawing interesting parallels to the 1986 tax reform legislation that, in effect, accomplished both of these tasks. According to what is becoming accepted history, Republicans and Democrats were able to put the interests of the country above both partisan politics and industry lobbying and come up with a fair compromise that, by implication, required a kind of leadership that is painfully absent among politicians 25 years later. Now, while there are some elements of this framing that are true and useful, I think that there is also quite a bit of danger in telling the story this way.
Shenanigans Ep3: The Gang Plays Devil’s Advocate to the Occupy Wall Street Protests! Also, Survivor Wk. 5 Reactions!
Hey hey! Welcome to episode 3 of the Pass the Relish podcast! After episode 1 where we discussed the protests in depth, this week the gang plays devil’s advocate to the Occupy Wall Street protests! We answer all your most pressing questions, cause we know you have them! lol. Some themes discussed:
- Why are we attacking the banks? If they go down, won’t we all go down?
- Don’t rich people pay for like 60% of our taxes?
- Should the protestors have any concrete demands?
We also spend a good 20 minutes on CBS’s survivor. We have been tracking a huge betting pool on the show for the past 5 weeks on our blog, and we take this week to get some reactions on the show and speculation from Evan, Zack and Mando… haha.
The Wall Street stuff starts at about the 19 min mark.
What does the Republican filibuster of Obama’s jobs bill say about the GOP?
Last night, the Republicans in the Senate did something that everybody already knew they would do: they filibustered President Obama’s jobs bill. Now, first off, we need to be clear on this. At a time when millions of Americans are out of work, millions more are underemployed, and our economy is stuck in an unemployment driven recession, the Republicans in the Senate didn’t just vote against a bill that would have created 2 million new jobs without adding a dollar to the deficit: they refused to even allow the bill to be discussed. When you put it like that, which is really the only way you can put it, it sounds bad enough. But what makes it worse is that, like I said at the beginning, this move has taken absolutely no one by surprise. So, the real question is, what does this say about the Republican Party?