Friday, June 29, 2012

Clown Parade Follows SCOTUS

The meme already struck!

I was going to wait a few days before checking settled winger reaction to the SCOTUS holding the Affordable Care Act constitutional. The big theme emerged immediately and had oozed even into FB postings of moderate sorts by this morning.

Pic note: the clown art is adapted from an image at allaboutclowns.com. It did not seem to claim rights, but that's a fun site and it has some nice art.

The clown parade of pundits has been chanting variations on the easily refuted broccoli argument from the bench by Justice Scalia and iterated in the dissenting opinion. The double-hitting gist is that requiring all Americans who can afford it to have health insurance instead of sticking the larger public with their bills when they need treatment is a gateway. It will lead to the government or even independent agencies (and by extension companies) forcing citizens to buy products or pay fees for failure to do so.

Some winger bloggers and commentators are even tossing up straw men, like if you don't bowl a certain number of strings a year to support your local alley, you might have to pay a license fee.

As absurd as Scalia's petulant rant was (not much improved in the lengthy dissent yesterday), Dems have to deal with this. Even such asinine, illogical statements already have a life like the early and late birther arguments. I suspect that plain folk who did not follow the case, did not originally understand the ACA and did not read the nearly 200 page ruling went with the sensational and simple when it appeared. This gives talking points like musing on weather.

It won't hurt for Dems to point out the simple, but in this contrast true, example of say driving licenses or auto insurance. They may not like to pay fees for those or have to pass a test and get a license, but they have to. That's government mandated personal responsibility where it's needed.

Moreover though, this insidious meme needs quick and lasting response. We can't stop those who hate all things progressive, all things Obama, all things equitable from ranting. However, framing this honestly and simply is necessary and starting immediately.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Shout It, Dems!


Even hanging on an odd hook on the side of the judicial closet, today's SCOTUS affirmation of the Affordable Care Act, is beautiful to behold. This first go at universal health care was many decades in the troubled making.

Now Democrats, including that President Obama one, need to focus and shout.

Even those who claim not to like the health-care reform really do. They want to keep nearly every provision of it. If they don't already benefit, their parents and others they know do.

For God's sake, Dems, don't play Blanche Dubois, depending on the intelligence of voters! Tell them, tell them clearly and repeatedly what they keep and what they stand to lose, depending on who's in the White House and Congress. Don't figure if you say it once on national TV that everyone understands.

For some unfathomable reason, Democratic pols and party officials have not been making their case strongly and plainly. This November election is no time for whispering and implying.

I'll read the big, honking decision a time or two, and wait a few days for the wingers to circle around their bonfire of lies and camp of hyperbole.

My dual takeaways today are:

  1. This is a brief breather. There's more to be done, from reelecting Obama, to keeping control of the Senate, to shaming those obstructionists in Congress into meaningful jobs-bills support. Speaker Boehner claimed smugly before the ruling the GOP would not spike the football. I don't care if Dems do, but that should not distract them for more than a moment from the big tasks ahead.
  2. We have only a few months to make our case. American voter too often have chosen the fantasy (think guns and butter, or trickle-down-economics [still in play]) over reality. Dems have to, absolutely have to, make it plain that we can recover economically quickly, if the Republicans stop the crap. We have to make as plain that taking a huge, blind leap on a fantasy this time is madness. Even with the GOP fighting all the way, the Administration has improved our lot substantially. It is essential for Obama and Dems to leave no doubt where the path is to a good future. 

We can let the Republican pols and funders sit in their corners muttering and cursing, speaking of how they had a better plan. They should just stay out of the way of those who mean to repair and advance the nation.

PM Update: On the way home from a broken-bone followup, I listened to NPR in the car. It was easy to believe that the news voices kicked around the meaning for the POTUS election. It was nearly impossible to hear one say that the victory today put a huge target on Obama for Romney. What century and continent did Mara Liasson recently emerge from? The winger elephants have been trying and trying to depict this stumbling start at universal health care as something terrible, while nearly all Americans love some or most of its features. Now that the SCOTUS has OK'ed it constitutionally, how can that mean anything other than much more widespread acceptance? Romney is erring in continuing to call the ACA Obamacare, adding the only way to get rid of it is to replace Obama with him. The only worthwhile accomplish of MA Gov. Romney was the nascent version of health-care reform that became the model for the ACA. Tell me how he's going to target this successful program that already benefits millions of us without shooting himself with every arrow at Obama. Lackaday, Mitt, Obamacare is not the pejorative you imagine.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Wee. Wee. Wee Scott Brown

Unbelievably pathetic is my sincere reaction to Scott Brown's latest. Following his absurd, un-American/anti-First Amendment demands, Vicki Kennedy told him in effect to grow up and show up at the proposed debate, but he said if he couldn't stifle her from now through election day in November, he was too chicken to debate.

Mein Gott im Himmel, what a coward! What a bully!

As discussed in today's Left Ahead podcast, he can't play fair. He tried to get the only debates with Elizabeth Warren on winger-hosted, tiny-audience talk radio. He thinks he's clever in turning down neutral locales and moderators.

All but the most addlepated, Republican partisans care more for ideas and liberties than that.I have nothing good to say for his gutless plays, nothing but, "Shame."

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bring Scott His Brown Trousers

Just when I thought Sen. Scott Brown could not be shallower and sillier, he bottoms out deeper. Word today is that he's doing his best schoolyard bully and simultaneously being yet another Republican who spits on the Bill of Rights, particularly Freedom of Speech.

All reports, as in the brief in the Globe, are that after trying to get any debates with Dem challenger Elizabeth Warren only on right-wing talk radio, he agrees to at least one neutral one. Yet, he soils it like a tom cat marking territory.

Brown asserts that Ted Kennedy widow Vicki Kennedy would be forbidden from endorsing Warren — even after the debate! He also begrudgingly accepts the bland Tom Brokaw as moderator, but only under the condition that MSNBC not be a sponsor of the debate.

Of course, or of coarse, that is outrageous. The current GOP, Brown most definitely included, seems to have missed civics classes or failed them.

Brown wants to censor and stifle even-handed commentary. He'd rob Kennedy of her free speech. He'd determine how dispersed the debate is. In short, he'd be a Republican.

I'd like to feign surprise. I can't.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

No Fake Fairness for Dems


There are ways, ways and other ways to view Elizabeth Warren supporters drowning Marisa DeFranco's hopes and expectations for a US Senate primary. Yet at its base the point is that MA Dems want that seat badly enough to transcend cliché.

Many of us, including party officials were sure DeFranco would get the requisite 15% of delegates at the convention to advance. It has always been the sop handed to sincere, energetic campaigners, the thanks-for-playing prize, the C for trying.

It's like the wider electorate sending two chambers of lawmakers filled with Dems and mischievously picking a Republican governor. Large numbers of voters will provide an addle-pated justification of not giving one party all the power. Yet even cursory analysis indicates that with the RINO/DINO/moderate levels, that's crap and doesn't balance or control anything.

So yesterday, with forearm touches and sincere stares, The likes of ex-Gov. Mike Dukakis and literally thousands of Senate-starved delegates held the day on the aptly dark floor. DeFranco got about 4% of the votes and there's be no primary.

Dems chose not to reward DeFranco with the consolation prize. They chose to act with the efficacy of Republicans who did as much to Christie Mihos two years ago when he ran for governor and the elephants wanted Charlie Baker without a distracting primary.

In fact, the Mihos case better illustrated the stated fears of Dems this year, that a primary would sap resources and anger or confuse voters. He was an is much more conservative than Bib the Michelin candidate, Baker. The party regulars and independents would have a stark choice.

DeFranco is the same but different from Warren. She is more progressive, has concerns and platforms that deal  more below middle-class problems/solutions, and has concentrations like immigration reform that Warren does not. Yet their basic left values and approaches are close enough that there'd been no party splintering or turning off the unenrolled sorts.

I would have welcomed a primary. I would have loved for Warren to attend debate-like-events throughout the campaign. I have no question she was the best debater in the field, even when it was substantial.

Yet we have a direct and limited fight now. Incumbent Scott Brown v. Warren and their combined sordid, sundry funds.

Until debates begin, all indications are that Brown's side will continue to distract and lie, while Warren's will spray all with truth and sincerity. So far too, to their disgrace, the media, particularly the two real Boston dailies have manufactured issues, particularly the Cherokee-heritage one, where the Herald and Globe pretend they have substance instead of moot trivialities. I don't expect them to up their games, just to begin reacting like dogs to electronic collars when the debates put real topics in huge letters right in front of them.

Brown should not be nervous. His record is pathetic and ill serves us here in MA. He's probably hidden almost as long as he can behind made-up crap about Warren. His facade of voting against his party is based only on selected bills where his made no difference. When it came to substance, such as jobs bills, economic recovery and student loan costs, he spits and stomps on his constituents and the larger nation.

Shame on those who gave him cover for so long. The princeling is not only naked. This is not a silly magazine centerfold either. It's been governance and he's exposed in the worst ways..

Friday, June 01, 2012

Boston Glib 1 and 2

Well past time to call the Boston Herald and Globe on their risible failure to make and maintain Elizabeth Warren's Native American heritage as even an issue, much less a scandal...

I had expected at least the two self-appointed media commentators — Dave Bernstein and Dan Kennedy — to haul out and use their big shame sticks. Instead, each has mentioned the manufactured mishigas in passing, without calling out the dailies. They in fact clearly enjoy that there's competition in crap production, feigning each jolt of the chest paddles keeping this critter alive is a scoop and actual news.

This is where analysts and columnists should have hooted and stepped up, or at least done their jobs.The Herald pored over Warren and the best they could do was this whiff. Even this was secondary at closest. Harvard Law had claimed on a listing that among their almost entirely white, male faculty, she was one a few who showed a tiny bit of diversity. There was no getting hired, promoted or tenured by falsely leveraging minority status.

The puerile reaction by the Globe (or Glib in this case) was to waste investigative days trying to prove they could do it better. They couldn't and didn't. They ended up with minor wrinkles, a waste of all our time, and doing incumbent Sen. Scott Brown a huge, long-lasting favor.

To their shame, Warren's people utterly failed to keep the focus on Brown. We here know him as a formerly ineffectual, ho-hum state legislator. As a U.S. Senator fill-in, his votes have been antithetical to the needs of the commonwealth and the nation. All of that was lost as Warren was calm and reasonable in the face of absurdist theater.

Now while I like Warren, I have yet to forgive her for marginalizing other Dem candidates, including in particular the last standing, Marisa DeFranco. She has not attended public forums and other such events and coming into this week's party convention has not debated DeFranco. Warren, for Socrates' sake, earned her college scholarship in debate. She owns a room when she speaks. She seemed afraid to legitimize any other Dems' candidacies.

That has nothing to do with the failure of our two bigger dailies. They blew it and for the wrong reasons. They have enabled Brown to hide from his dreadful Senate record and disastrous positions. I call shame.

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