Tag Archive: 2010 Midterms

Nov 05 2010

Congressional Progressive Caucus Increases Plurality in Next Congress

As David Swanson noted on Wednesday:

You may have heard that our center-right nation got enthusiastic, formed a grassroots movement called a tea party, and overwhelmingly voted in a more rightwing party, sending hordes of nasty socialists packing as a result of their overly progressive performance, meaning gridlock between the righteous Congress and the infidel president for the next two years. There are some problems with this story, beginning with the fact that it’s completely false.

[snip]

As Karen Dolan blogged about immediately after Tuesday’s elections, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus — over 80 members — lost only 3 seats. The Cut-Spending-Except-For-Killing Blue Dogs had 54 members and lost 26 of them, and those 26 were their true believers. Congress members, including one or two real progressives, didn’t lose by being progressive but by being Democrats. Alan Grayson was defeated by the largest investment of corporate money in any House race, but the obedient corporatist Democrat in the next district over lost too. And this was despite the Democratic Party funding and supporting the Blue Dogs, leaving the progressives to raise their own money.

Tea Party candidates, in contrast to progressives, did not have a successful day on Tuesday. Their nominees’ craziness cost the Republican Party control of the Senate. Yet the whole corporate-funded smoke-and-mirrors “movement” of the Tea Party pushed the Republican Party as a whole to the right, in a way that no well-funded institution has pushed the Democrats to the left or even tried to. And this is the key lesson: pushing the Democrats to the left would save them from themselves.

On Thursday Amy Goodman at Democracy Now spoke with CPC Co-Chair Raul Grijalva about the CPC not only holding it’s own with a loss of only 4 seats in the mid terms, but coming out of the elections holding the relative largest plurality of all groups in Congress.

The Democrats lost the majority in the US House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections, but what is the makeup of the new Democratic House caucus? The conservative Blue Dogs lost half their members, while the Progressive Caucus remains near eighty. We speak to its co-chair, Rep. Raúl Grijalva, who appears to have retained his seat in a close election in Arizona’s 7th Congressional District. Over the past year, Grijalva has received numerous threats, including having a suspicious package covered in swastikas sent to his office and having a bullet shot through his district office in Yuma, Arizona.



Democracy Now – November 04, 2010

about 10 minutes

..transcript follows..

Nov 04 2010

Austerity & The Coming Lost Decade

Rob Johnson is the Director of the Economic Policy Initiative at the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and is a regular contributor to the Institute’s blog NewDeal2.0. He serves on the UN Commission of Experts on Finance and International Monetary Reform. Previously, Dr. Johnson was a Managing Director at Soros Fund Management where he managed a global currency, bond and equity portfolio specializing in emerging markets. He was also a Managing Director at the Bankers Trust Company. Dr. Johnson has served as Chief Economist of the US Senate Banking Committee under the leadership of Chairman William Proxmire and was Senior Economist of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee under the leadership of Chairman Pete Domenici. Dr. Johnson was an Executive Producer of Taxi to the Dark Side, an Oscar Winning documentary produced and directed by Alex Gibney.

Here, Johnson talks with Paul Jay of The Real News Network about the economic fallout from the past couple of years and the 2010 mid term elections, and concludes that…

…the baseline scenario now is one of prolonged stagnation, gridlock in the government, unless Obama essentially capitulates to the agenda of the right. But will we go into a deep downturn similar to 2007, ’08, early 2009? Not necessarily. We may just remain stagnant. Perhaps the best model is the so-called lost decade in Japan, where you have negligible growth, negligible inflation, or even modest deflation, and you just kind of bump along the bottom. The danger of that, as I alluded to previously, is the long-term, persistent unemployment allows the skills of many people in society to atrophy. And the United States, unlike Europe and Japan, does not have a strong safety net, so it probably foments more social unrest, kind of like what we saw in the formation of the protest movements and Tea Party as we approach this election.



Real News Network – November 04, 2010

Austerity Could Lead to Lost Decade

Rob Johnson: They could accelerate foreign policy conflict to direct attention outwards

..transcript follows..

Oct 30 2010

Obama’s Power to Produce Progressive Legislation May Increase Dramatically Tuesday

It now appears that in all likelihood republicans will win a congressional majority this coming Tuesday. Nate Silver’s projections of Friday October 29…

…found Republicans gaining an average of 53 seats, which would bring them to 232 total. Democrats are given a 16 percent chance of holding the House, down slightly from 17 percent on Wednesday.

Increasingly, there seems to be something of a consensus among various forecasting methods around a projected Republican figure somewhere in the 50-60 seat range.

Several of the expert forecasters that FiveThirtyEight’s model uses, like the Cook Political Report, the Rothenberg Political Report, and Larry Sabato, have stated that they expect the Republicans’ overall total to fall roughly in this range. A straw poll of political insiders for Hotline on Call found an average expectation of a 50-seat gain. And some political science models have been forecasting gains somewhere in this range for some time.

The forecast also seems consistent with the average of generic ballot polling. Our model projects that Republicans will win the average Congressional district by between 3 and 4 points.

The modeling also suggests that there is a 90% chance that after Tuesday Democrats will control at least 50 seats in the Senate, but that there is a 0% chance that Democrats will control at least 60 seats.

It’s not looking good by any stretch of the imagination.  

Oct 29 2010

Heckuva Job, Mr. Obama…

This past Wednesday “Barack Obama was a guest on The Daily Show, thereby becoming the first sitting president to appear as Jon Stewart’s guest. (In July, Obama became the first sitting president ever to appear on The View.) In the half-hour-long interview, Stewart quizzed his grizzled guest about health-care reform, the financial crisis, and the midterm elections.”

“Stewart’s most combative query concerned National Economic Council director Larry Summers-in particular, Obama’s hiring thereof. ‘We can’t expect different results with the same people,’ Stewart said, referring to Summers’s previous stint as treasury secretary under Bill Clinton. He continued, ‘Larry Summers … that seems like the exact same person.’ Obama, inadvertently quoting his imminently quotable predecessor, replied, ‘Larry Summers did a heckuva job.’ Stewart, somewhat shocked, advised him, ‘You don’t wanna use that phrase…'”

This morning at GRITtv Laura Flanders talked with journalist and Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer, who reminds that “Summers was the chief architect of Clinton-era policies that created the economic crisis in the first place, and that Obama’s appointment of him to get us out of it was never going to result in anything but more money being thrown at Wall Street.”



An Obit For Our Hopes – GRITtv, October 29, 2010

It’s no wonder that there is now so much irrepressible enthusiasm among the liberals and independents and progressives who tipped the balance in the democrats favor in 2006 and in 2008 to get out and vote for democrats in the 2010 midterm elections.

Oct 02 2010

All Gallup Indicators Point to Democratic Debacle in Midterms

Crossposted from Antemedius

The Edge… There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.” — Hunter S. Thompson

Leading up to the 1994 midterm elections, Bill Clinton’s job approval measured by Gallup was 46%. The Democrats subsequently lost 53 seats in the midterms that year.

Barack Obama’s presidential job approval for the last week of September was 44%. Historically in any midterm year with a president with a job approval below 50%, his party has suffered major midterm losses.

Congressional job approval measured by Gallup for the last week of September was 18% – the lowest congressional approval measured by Gallup going back through 1974.

Leading up to the 1994 midterm elections, Congressional job approval measured by Gallup was 23%. Again, the Democrats subsequently lost 53 seats in the midterms that year.

Gallup’s generic ballot – simply asking registered voters which party they plan to vote for – was tied for the last week of September at 46% for each party. Galllup’s historical data indicates that when the generic ballot is tied, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to turn out at the polls.

29 Sept. 2010 | Gallup’s Editor-in-Chief Dr. Frank Newport reviews four key indicators of midterm election results – all of which suggest the Democrats are likely to lose a significant number of House seats in November:

I and many others, including Michael Moore the other day, have many times stressed that the only way the Democrats can turn things around and not only save themselves but the country too in November is to start producing progressive results.

Obama and the Democrats have a month. I’d suggest they get busy.

Sep 28 2010

People Need To Buck Up

The biggest mistake I see many make when trying to sell the Democrats is to call the prospects stupid, and tell them buying the product is the only way they can stop being stupid, apparently thinking the prospects will immediately reach for their wallets and say “where do I sign”?

Of course, that result only happens in salespeople’s dreams – and is the reason 90 percent of people who go into sales never make any money at the job.

There is also a (real life) tried and true technique in sales and marketing that the democrats could try: the top sales producers in any industry constantly critique themselves and ask themselves “If I’m not getting the results I want to get, what am I doing to get the results I am getting?

Instead of asking themselves what they are doing to produce the results they are getting (dropping support) – and they are producing those results whether they want to or not – Democrats and their supporters are taking the easy route of blaming the voters (their prospects) and treating the voters as if they are stupid.

Obama: Democratic voter apathy ‘inexcusable’:

WASHINGTON – Admonishing his own party, President Barack Obama says it would be “inexcusable” and “irresponsible” for unenthusiastic Democratic voters to sit out the midterm elections, warning that the consequences could be a squandered agenda for years.

“People need to shake off this lethargy. People need to buck up,” Obama told Rolling Stone in an interview to be published Friday. The president told Democrats that making change happen is hard and “if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren’t serious in the first place.”

Sep 24 2010

GOTV, Mr. Obama

There is a enormous and powerful difference between millions of people not voting for a particular party, and millions of people saying loud and clear to that party: “we guarantee we  will give you millions of votes, more than enough to tip the scale…… once you have done a or b or c or d or any combination of those things, and as soon as we see that you’ve done that you can relax in the confidence that you have won even before election day arrives, otherwise you’ve already lost and you might as well tell your corporate donors now that their money has been pissed away for absolutely nothing and that you were an utter and pathetic waste of their time, and quit campaigning”.

It takes planning, and it takes a determination to make decisions not out of fear but out of the power and leverage you know you have, but have only if you use it.

The best that can happen with this approach is beyond your wildest dreams, and the worst that can happen with this is that if nobody else does it while you do you won’t be defending yourself after the fact for having voted for people who could have done their jobs but wouldn’t.

Make it a credible threat. Not a bluff.

Aug 28 2010

More Than One Truth

Glen Ford writing at Black Agenda Report said on Wednesday “We Are Cornered: There’s No Way Out Without A Fight”: “Obama and his Democratic legislative allies have successfully shielded their Wall Street masters from anything worthy of the name financial reform.”, and “The pace of finance capital deterioration quickens, accelerating the timetable of the Right’s offensive. As the hunger grows, Wall Street’s servants become more aggressive and demanding, and there is nothing in the Democratic Party, as presently constituted, to stop them.”

Ford closed his essay with: “One truth remains: only a massed people can defeat massed capital. If the American Left is capable of bearing that in mind in the critical times ahead, it might just escape the cul-de-sac and make some modest contribution to the world.”

Robert Scheer noted on Tuesday:

It is Obama’s continued deference to the sensibilities of the financiers and his relative indifference to the suffering of ordinary people that threaten his legacy, not to mention the nation’s economic well-being. There have been more than 300,000 foreclosure filings every single month that Obama has been president, and as The New York Times editorialized, “Unfortunately, there is no evidence that the Obama administration’s efforts to address the foreclosure problem will make an appreciable dent.”

The ugly reality that only 398,198 mortgages have been modified to make the payments more reasonable can be traced to the program being based on the hope that the banks would do the right thing. While Obama continued the Bush practice of showering the banks with bailout money, he did not demand a moratorium on foreclosures or call for increasing the power of bankruptcy courts to force the banks, which created the problem, to now help distressed homeowners.

…foreclosures are behind Tuesday’s news that U.S. home sales reached their lowest point in 15 years and that there is unlikely to be an economic recovery without a dramatic turnabout in the housing market. The stock market tanked Tuesday on reports that U.S. home sales had dropped 25.5 percent below the year-ago level.

Foreclosure

Ford is right about many things, but Ford is wrong about one thing.

There is more than one truth.

Give me a lever long enough, and a place to stand, and I will move the Earth

— Archimedes

Aug 14 2010

If Republicans Get Their Way In The Elections

they will have a trojan horse hard nosed ‘democratic’ president in the oval office who has let George Bush and Dick Cheney and most of the previous republican administration off the hook effectively pardoning them for torture and all their other war crimes, continued if not expanded the overseas occupations the republicans started, given tens of trillions of dollars to wall street and other republican corporate cronies like the health insurance industry while ensuring the Military Industrial Complex remains the most corrupt and profitable racket in the history of humanity [1], and then falls all over himself bending over backwards to give the republicans anything and everything else they demand and more while conning the democratic base into supporting an ‘incremental’ bipartisanship with batsh*t crazy republicans fantasy to coopt that base into supporting republican policies across the board while insulting that base [2] at every opportunity and generally just screwing the working classes every way possible, while sending out scare letters [3] to that democratic base demanding money and votes because republicans are scary.

Who I’m sure hopes to guarantee himself a lucrative post presidential career continuing this good work for his constituents.