People keep telling me I have to be realistic. But step one of being a realist is acknowledging reality.
I have been pretty vocal in my criticism of Barack Obama over the past seven years. I have reamed the modern day Vichy Democratic party every chance I have gotten. I have stomped on Bill Clinton and Al Gore, the architects of the “new” GOP Lite Dems and lately I have made clear that I can’t imagine a scenario whereby I would vote for Hillary Clinton. I’m tired, I have said, of voting for lesser evils, of voting for people who at best are playing not to win but to lose by less and at worst are just playing for themselves.
None of this is knee-jerk and I have not arrived here in the absence of a great deal of thought and analysis, as my “Shootout at the DC Corral” post from five years ago makes clear. Read more
Part two of a series.
In part one, I offered an overview of why I think the time has come to partition America – shake hands, go our separate ways, and let two (at least) groups of people follow their own paths according to their very different values. Today I want to briefly tackle the hard part and present some initial thoughts on key details – where the lines are drawn, how the divorce might be effected, etc. By no means do I regard this post as being definitive. The issues are complex and, like many divorces, the process of separating is likely to incite as much in the way of negative passion as the end stages of the marriage itself did. At best, perhaps I can provide a framework for discussion and begin a productive conversation that leads us all to a better understanding of what we’re facing.
First: The partition should comprise a five-year, free-passage transition. Read more
Part one of a series.
This past week AlterNet published an interview with Chuck Thompson, author of Better Off Without ‘Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession. In brief, Thompson argues that the United States has become two very different countries (or perhaps that it was always two very different countries) and that perhaps the time has come to shake hands and go our separate ways.
Thompson makes a compelling argument. Secession is a subject we here at S&R have engaged in the past, primarily within the context of the inequitable distribution of tax revenues (donor states vs. taker states), and it’s perhaps telling that so many of the smartest people I know – rational, clear-headed, educated, progressive-minded, deliberate thinkers all – are more than willing to entertain the idea. Sure, there are plenty of logistical concerns to be considered, but make no mistake – the “South’s gonna do it agin” crowd isn’t the only segment of the population that would be okay parting ways. Read more
Once I was a believer in the time-honored Senate filibuster tradition, although by “believer” I don’t necessarily mean that I loved it or revered it, exactly. I was more like a guy worried about a zombie apocalypse stocking up on 12-gauge shells. In case things go to hell, at least the good guys have the filibuster to slow the lumbering herd of dead meat down a little, right? So, I believed in the filibuster the way a B-grade horror flick protagonist might believe in ammunition.
The main difference between the Senate and a zombie apocalypse, of course, is that zombies aren’t real but the Senate is very much upon us. Also, in neither case does it look like we have enough ammo.
The last few years have changed the equation significantly. Read more
So, it appears campaign season is under way in earnest. Mr. Obama officially kicked off the festivities in Virginia and Ohio yesterday, and we saw our first Mitt-scorcher on Denver TV a couple days ago. I’ve been thinking about the Obama administration’s performance to date for a few months, and perhaps now is as good a time as any to summarize what I think has been the dominant theme of his presidency.
My home state, North Carolina, has a wonderful motto: esse quam videri – to be, rather than to seem. Read more
So, the Susan Komen Foundation has hired a big-hitter PR firm. And not just any PR firm, either.
Now, Komen is assessing the damage, and it’s using a consulting firm founded by two former Democratic strategists. Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), the firm Komen hired to help determine how badly the crisis hurt its reputation, is founded by former Democratic strategists Mark Penn and Doug Schoen.
The goal here seems obvious. Komen’s recent bout of ballistic podiatry cost it massive amounts of support among people who believe that women’s health shouldn’t be held captive to a reactionary, partisan social conservative agenda. The foundation has accurately understood that this means it needs people from the center and points left in order to thrive. Or, at this point, survive. So they go out and hire … Mark Penn.
Wait, what? Read more
Yesterday, on Facebook, one of my friends posted a graphic of the president and this recent quote, which is making the rounds:
I reject the idea that asking a hedge fund manager to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or a teacher is class warfare…
And today, over at the Great Orange Satan, msblucow has an interesting poll up aimed at gauging how likely voters are to support Obama’s reelection bid in 2012. More to the point, why they are likely to vote for him (or not)? If you click through to the poll, there’s a series of questions that asks if the president’s actions on a series of issues make you more likely to vote for him, less likely, undecided, or do his actions and policies have no effect. Read more
There is a particular narrative about Ronald Reagan and the end of the Cold War that has always struck me as compelling. I bought the argument at the time and I think I still do, to some extent, even though I’m hardly a Reagan fan.
The story goes like this: Reagan was able to finally win the Cold War and drive a stake through the heart of the Evil Empire because he realized that the Soviet economy was already badly overextended trying to prop up the war machine. All he had to do was accelerate the arms race, dramatically increasing military spending (while also amping up the sabre-rattling rhetoric) and that would force the Russkis to bankrupt themselves trying to compete. Read more
In Mike’s most recent Nota Bene, he points us to a disturbing, if not altogether surprising little vignette from Capitol Hill.
When House Democrats gathered on Friday for their end-of-the week caucus meeting in the basement of the Capitol, caucus chairman John Larson (D-Conn.) told the group he wanted them to hear first from Rep. Michael Capuano, who’d just returned from a primary campaign for the Senate seat in Massachusetts vacated by the death of Ted Kennedy.
Larson asked Capuano, who finished in second place, to share the wisdom he learned on the campaign trail. Read more
The following image is from a new TV ad extolling the virtues of Sen. Mark Udall, Boulder Liberal Biparticrat. See if you can spot what’s wrong here. (Pardon the lens flare – I’m not much of a photographer.)
Let’s begin with a brief Q&A with America.
Q: Let’s say you’re sick with a potentially deadly disease. Who do you want for a doctor?
A: The smartest, most experienced and highly qualified expert in the field.
Q: You’re looking to invest your life savings. Who do you trust to handle your money?
A: The brightest, most agile financial mind I can find.
Q: You’ve been selected to participate in a “private citizens in space” program. Who do you want in charge of building the rocket? Read more
While on the campaign trail, Barack Obama made greening America’s infrastructure a huge priority for his administration. As noted in the Los Angeles Times, Obama planned
to spend $150 billion over the next decade to promote energy from the sun, wind and other renewable sources as well as energy conservation. Plans include raising vehicle fuel-economy standards and subsidizing consumer purchases of plug-in hybrids. Obama wants to weatherize 1 million homes annually and upgrade the nation’s creaky electrical grid. His team has talked of providing tax credits and loan guarantees to clean-energy companies.
His goals: create 5 million new jobs repowering America over 10 years; assert U.S. leadership on global climate change; and wean the U.S. from its dependence on imported petroleum.
He’s currently battling Congress for the appropriations required to turn his vision into reality, and the resistance from Capitol Hill raises once again a question that’s been bouncing around the office here for the last six months: why not revise the tax code to make wind, hydroelectric, solar and other renewable technologies “like-kind” with traditional fossil technologies? This would allow energy companies that wanted to transition into green energy to employ Section 1031 Like-Kind Exchanges, thereby speeding the switch-over considerably. Read more
I was living in NC when Colorado’s governor, Bill Ritter, was elected, and therefore didn’t follow the campaign closely and don’t really know a lot about the guy except that he’s bound to be better than his predecessor, Bill Owens. Short of actually outlawing schools, Owens did all he possibly could to destroy education in the state, and I’m sure everybody in the tourism industry will remember when his dumb ass stepped in front of the cameras a few summers back to announce that “today, the entire state of Colorado is on fire.” He didn’t actually say “please take your tourism dollars to Utah,” but he might as well have.
Lately, though, I’m learning that a lot of my fellow Coloradans don’t much like Ritter, and this includes a lot of Democrats who voted for him. Read more
In an NPR piece the other day on the return of Newt Gingrich, reporter Lynn Neary noted that some Republicans are attempting to lure the former House speaker back into the party leadership as the head of the Republican National Committee. Newt says the chances of that happening are pretty much zero, as he’s focusing all his time and energy on two things: the Center for Health Transformation and American Solutions.
The latter group is the one that brought you the “drill here, drill now, pay less” canard. They’re also pushing for a repeal of Sarbanes-Oxley (the corporate accountability law passed in the wake of the Enron, WorldCom, Qwest, Adelphia, and Tyco debacles) and are agitating for a zero capital gains tax rate and a “12% corporate income tax rate strategy for economic growth.” Read more
A few nights ago John McCain treated us all to a masterful concession speech. He was gracious, articulate, noble – he said all the right things and struck all the right chords as the nation and his party look toward the future in the wake of an epic statement on the part of the American electorate.
If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering: where the hell was this guy for the last several months?
I always marvel at the civility of concession speeches. Your opponent spends months degrading your character, questioning the legitimacy of your parentage, slandering you, your momma, your horse and everyone you ever passed in the street, fabricating the most staggering and colorful lies imaginable, and then when the votes are in he extends his hand like you’d been trading good-natured barbs over the monthly potluck in the church fellowship hall. Read more