Tag Archives: economy

Diary of a disenfranchised Democrat

Ok, I published this a few years ago but with the pundits hopping all over themselves to write President Obama’s most recent obituary, I thought we could use a laugh.  Oh, how the 1990s were just an era of wonderful bipartisanship and hope…

 

There’s been a lot of talk about how President Obama is in trouble with his base.  The narrative goes something like this: liberals are disappointed with Barack Obama’s performance.  Maybe he has been too timid, too hands-off, too much of a law professor when what we neehttp://www.alysonchadwick.com/wp-admin/admin-ajax.php?post_id=688&action=grunion_form_builder&TB_iframe=true&width=768&id=add_formded was a scrappy street fighter, willing to go toe-to-toe with an obstructionist Congress and the wiley John Boehner and Eric “Dr. No” Cantor.  Neither Bill or Hillary Clinton would have put up with this malarky.  No, sir.

My friend, Chris Rugaber (you know the AP business writer, if you don’t read his stuff, you should start), sent me this piece: When did liberals become so unreasonable? The idea being, that liberals are never happy with anything.  I dug through my personal papers and the following represent excerpts from my journal.

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Fall 1991:

Dear Diary,

My mom and I were talking about what Democrats will run for president next year.  Seems pointless to me.  George Bush is just so dang popular, what with that stupid Iraq war and all.  I like Paul Tsongas a lot but, seriously, another liberal, Greek from Mass?  That’s never gonna happen.  I said Bill Clinton is the only viable candidate.  She thinks his performance at the 1988 Democratic Convention will do him in, they did lower him off the stage and all, but I think he’s got a certain “je ne sais quoi.”  I cannot wait to move to France.  If Bush gets reelected, I am going to move there.

Winter 1992

Dear Diary,

Well, I don’t have to move to France.  Bill Clinton is our new president!  We have the White House, the Senate and House of Representatives!  I hear that means a lot!  There’s nothing stopping us now!  We are going to make health care available to everyone!  It’s a good time to be alive!  Diary, you had better not stop thinking about tomorrow!  I know I won’t!1

Spring 1993

Dear Diary,

This has been a sad time for Democrats.  We have a Dem in the White House and control both sides of Capitol Hill but President Clinton’s stimulus package went down in flames in the Senate, damn you filibuster! ( http://www.nytimes.com/1993/04/22/us/gop-senators-prevail-sinking-clinton-s-economic-stimulus-bill.html) Weren’t they paying attention to the It’s the economy, stupid! message?  Hello! I remain hopeful that we can get healthcare reform through, Hillary Rodham, I mean Hillary Rodham Clinton (I keep forgetting she is using his name now!) is heading up the committee for that so I am sure it will go through.  She tried to soften her image with that cookie recipe and my mom swears by her turkey tips (hint: avoid basting by putting bacon on top — saves time and is delicious!) but she’s tough as nails. President Clinton’s lack of foreign policy experience is pretty clear, I sure wish we’d stop the genocide in Bosnia.  Slobodan Molosovic sounds like a dick.

Fall 1993

Dear Diary,

I just cannot shake the feeling that we are fucking up big time here.   If we cannot capitalize on the promise of Bill Clinton, we are totally screwed.  Does he know the damage he is doing to our party and system?  Bosnia remains a mess.  When are we going to help these people?  I hear there’s going to be a new Holocaust museum in Washington, DC, I sure hope they look into Bosnia.  This crap is unacceptable.  None of my friends will even talk to me about it.  And now the crazy “liberal” media seems obsessed with some innocent investments the Clintons made a thousand years ago, I think they’re calling it white-water?  I don’t know why they are so anti-rafting.  Seems like a good hobby to me.

Spring 1994

Dear Diary,

Am so depressed.  Hillary Clinton’s health reform looks to be headed towards disaster!  They say she didn’t consult Congress enough, as if!  What has happened to our party?  I thought we had some guts but I guess not.  Man, Bill Clinton sucks.

Winter 1994

Well, the end of the world is here.  Officially.  The Republicans just took the House back — after about a million years.  The Speaker was the first to lose his seat since we had a speaker.  Healthcare reform died a painful death.  Damn senators act like they should be consulted on policy issues, how rude!  Don’t they know Bill Clinton is a D?  Stupid “liberal” media is still into that rafting crap.  Have they no lives?

Winter 1995

Dear Diary,

Have been too depressed to write.  Bill Clinton has failed us all.  First no action on Bosnia, then health care reform failure and then he was all about welfare reform.  Says that will be his big thing should he win reelection, good luck, jerk.  Thank god for Newt Gingrich.  He was so mean/whiny that he made us look good.  Shut down the government because he was pissed about his seat on AF1.  I sure wish Democrats would grow a pair.

Winter 1997

Dear Diary,

Wow. It’s been a painful few years.  When did Democrats stop being Democrats?  Sure we had a few victories but that’s all because Newt Gingrich is so stupid. And whiny.  Bill Clinton totally caved to the GOP on the last two budgets and welfare reform.  Thank goodness he won reelection, though he seems more like a Republican.  That rafting thing ended up being more of a big deal than I had thought. And now, it looks like he may have had an affair with an intern.  Question:  If you know the world is watching you, can you keep your pants on for five minutes?  No?  Work on it.

January 1998

Dear Diary,

Just got a job in the record industry (publicist for RCA Victor).  All my friends were surprised that I would pick music over politics but it has been hard to be a Dem.  Fr weeks, every day, reading the paper has been a challenge.  But then I was walking down the street and had a thought — why am I upset with Bill Clinton?  He has been a good president.  We have had a near unprecedented period of peace and prosperity.  That has been a good thing.  I am tired of being unhappy with him for stupid crap that doesn’t matter.

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Ok, those aren’t really from my journals, though I am sure I wrote similar things back then.  I remember worrying that Bill Clinton was going to squander the opportunity to do some truly spectacular things with his presidency.  I could not understand why Congress resisted working with him, did they not understand that he and they were in the same party?

It is easy to criticize President Obama for being too hands off when dealing with Congress, his absence from the conversations about the debt ceiling or the super committee’s failure only reinforces the narrative and it is easy to forget that he accomplished more in his first year in office than Bill Clinton.  He also managed to get health care reform, as imperfect as it is, passed.  I would like him to be more of a fighter, to het his hands dirty a little — politics is a dirty business — but that’s not who he is.  That’s also not the person many people voted for.  I am going to try to remind myself of how I felt during the Clinton administration whenever I am tempted to buy into the narrative that says I am supposed to be disappointed in President Obama.

I’m melting, melting! Oh, what a world! What a world!

Where to start this week?

Maybe I can start with the most disturbing story since Jerry Sandusky.  WTF?  Can we all agree that no one should abuse children?  What thought process leads someone to think taking pictures of children with blindfolds, tape and/or mouths full of semen, which they thought was “magic candy” is appropriate?  Apparently LA educator Mark Berdt thought that was just fine.  I saw an official from the area say this on CNN, “They just thought they were being blindfolded and gagged as a game.”  There is so much wrong with that statement that I am not sure where to begin.  So, I’ll end my anti-child abuse rant there.

How about Mitt Romney’s compassionate nature? Recently he told a reporter, “I don’t care about the poor, there’s a safety net for that. If it’s broken, I’ll fix it.”  I am sure the nation’s poor — and some estimates have that number as being as high as 42 million Americans — will be greatly relieved to hear that.

Why do we still care what Donald Trump thinks about anything?  Rumor has it, he will endorse Newt Gingrich.  Why do we care?  Oh, right, we’re stupid.

(FYI, if you are not familiar with that quote it from The Wizard of Oz, a movie about which I have written before.  Side note: has anyone heard the story of the suicide on the set that is supposed to be in the film?  Used to scare the crap out of me.  And I was in college when said scaring took place.  Of course I am afraid of velociraptors, so clearly something is not right with me.)

Who would Reagan endorse?

Every Republican candidate has referenced President Reagan at some point.  All want to be seen as being the most like their icon.  After watching most of the debates, as you know, there have been many.  If Reagan were here today, he would endorse (drum roll, please): Jon Huntsman.

While his level headed and non-rabid demeanor has made many paint him as a liberal, he is not.  He is pro-life.  He has a 100 percent approval rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA).  He worked for President Obama, sure, but he has also worked for Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.  He served two terms as governor of Utah. Those are not liberal bonafides.  You don’t have to take my word for it — and I am a liberal so you shouldn’t (it’s all about perspective, you know).  But Haley Barbour knows a thing or two about politics and conservatives and has said this:

Jon Huntsman and I served together, and while we don’t agree on some issues, there’s no question that he’s a conservative. He’s way to the right of Barack Obama for goodness sake. But yeah, I consider Jon a conservative. As I said, we have some issues that I think are important that we have different views on. But he was in the Reagan administration, elected governor of a very conservative state — elected and re-elected by the way. So if you’re asking me if Jon Huntsman is qualified to the Republican nominee for President of the United States, the answer is, of course he is.”  View it here.

Plus, Huntsman did a good job.  Taxes went down.  Job creation went up.  The Pew Center on the States found that Utah was the “best managed states” under his tenior.

And Huntsman has solid foreign policy experience and knowledge.  We live in an increasingly interconnected world.  We need someone at the help who will not need to rely on advisors in high level meetings with foreign leaders — they will not be in the room.

President Ronald Reagan — and I can assure you waxing nostalgic for him is something I never thought I would do — would look at the current crop of GOP candidates and pick Jon Huntsman because he is a competent, pragmatic, intelligent and thoughtful person.  He has been consistently conservative.  To my friends on the right, being rabidly anti-Obama doesn’t make you conservative, it makes you rabidly anti-Obama.  There are plenty of lefties who are upset with him, too.

But what about the fact that Huntsman worked for President Obama?  Reagan started off as a Democrat but more than that, he saw the value in working with the other side of the aisle.  Tip O’Neil never would have given a press conference saying that “Democrats and Republicans are drom different planets.”  Never. Would. Have. Happened.

As for the rest?  Mitt Romney would be a second choice, if we could figure out WHICH Mitt Romney would be headed to the White House.  After that, I almost thing Reagan would stay home rather than vote for someone proud of their ignorance.  Yes, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry — I am talking to you.  Newt Gingrich?  Believes his own PR too much and will self-destruct — we want a winner here, people.  Ron Paul & Rich Santorum, right, like that’s gonna happen.

I want President Obama win reelection but having Jon Huntsman as his rival — as scary as that might be for Democrats as he has the best chance of any of them to win the general, it would move our conversation to a better, more productive place.

Every four years, we have the opportunity to look at our government and decide how we want to govern ourselves, who we want to be as a people and what we can do — together — to solve our problems.  We have serious issues that deserve more of our attention that birth certificates or fighting over who knows less about what.

How stupid does he think we are?

There’s one angle to Herman Cain’s presidential campaign that has not been covered.  One question I would like to ask: How stupid do you think we are?  Clearly, the answer is very, very, very stupid.

After watching him in the debates and doing interviews, it is pretty clear that he lacks even the most rudimentary knowledge of policy and politics.   I didn’t think it was possible to be alive during the last decade without having heard of neo-cons.  And his foreign policy knowledge is downright scary.  Didn’t know China has had nuclear weapons for fifty years?  You think the Israelis would be open to discussing the ‘right of return?’  Do you read any news at all?  And for good measure, the 9-9-9 plan would be horrible for everyone — especially the poor and anyone living on a fixed income.  The federal sales tax of 9 percent would be a tax increase on everyone, and the 9 percent income tax would be a tax cut for the wealthy and a big tax hike for those who are barely holding on.

What makes Cain’s economic plan even worse is that he doesn’t seem to understand it all that well.  I thought Governor Mitt Romney made a great point about the sales tax.  He asked Cain if the sales tax included in his plan would replace the current state sales taxes.

“No, your’re mixing apples with oranges,” Cain said.

“So I am going to get a bushel of oranges and apples?” Romney asked.

“You’re mixing apples with oranges,” Cain replied.

Way to stay on message but he didn’t answer the question and I think that is because he didn’t understand it.  Supporters point to his business successes and he done well but I don’t sense a whole lot of intellectual curiosity there.  In his defense, no one knows everything but being proud of knowing nothing doesn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence.

The newest political scandal is almost the least important clue that this man would be a disastrous president.  But the allegations are serious — and growing more so as more women come forward with stories about Cain.

Herman Cain’s response to the allegations — and it’s hard to use the ‘none of this is true’ line when there are two recorded settlements with the women in question.  But his denials have morphed from one to another so much that he’s only making this much worse for himself. Threatening to sue Politico in a move inspired by Dan Snyder, won’t help things.

Mr. Cain, you are not ready for prime time and everything you do just makes that case more.

My “Morning Joe” week & my monthly call for civility in politics

I write posts like this often enough that I feel a bit like a broken record but I am not going to be deterred.

This morning, someone sent me an article that lambasted Bruce Springsteen’s “41 Shots” and said he supports the killing of cops.  He continued to say “IF YOU LIKE KILLING COPS, YOU ARE A LIBERAL DEMOCRAT.”  (Emphasis HIS)  As a liberal Democrat, who does not support cop killing but lived in NYC at the time of the incident that inspired that song I think the writer has really misunderstood the situation (in the interest of full disclosure, I will blog about my thoughts about that sometime this week).

If we are going to succeed at turning things in this country around, both parties need to stop seeing each other as adversaries and more like partners.  If our economy tanks this summer, for example, it won’t be only blue or red states that are hurt; it be all of us.

While this is not solely the media’s fault, it isn’t helping.  Shows where people yell over each other or merely wait for their turn to talk without listening – these are not discussions, they are debates.  And no one really learns anything.  That was my problem with “Crossfire.”  I knew where each person stood on each issue and it became a huge waste of my time.

One thing about the popularity of some shows now that baffles me is that I hate being yelled at.   I don’t want other people’s opinions screamed at me (after admitting my political affiliation, it should be a given that I am not a big fan of FOX News) but I don’t need to have my own yelled at me either.  I am pretty clear on where I stand; I don’t need Ed Schultz to holler it at me.  And for the record; Keith Olbermann makes my ears bleed.  When my TV yells at me, I end up yelling back and I really don’t need my neighbors to think I have lost it.

Joe Scarborough

And now we come to the “Morning Joe” portion of my point.  I love this show.  LOVE IT.  It has even eclipsed “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” (love that, too but I don’t watch it for three hours a day, five days a week.)  This is something that I never thought I would write.

The show’s creator, Joe Scarborough, is a former politician.  He was elected in 1994 to represent Florida’s first congressional district and was part of the “Republican Revolution” that year.  This was not a freshman class of moderate and liberal Republicans.  It was a bunch of fire breathing conservatives.  My first job was for Senator Feinstein (D-CA) and that’s where I was working when he took office.  From my side of the aisle, he looked a bit fringy.   I am not alone in this theory – he has said it, too.  One of my friend – a former Congressman himself, one who was the only member of the Conservative Party when he was in the House asked me, “How can YOU like Joe Scarborough he was a right-wing nut job in Congress!”

One belief that I will surrender only upon my death is one of the reasons I like Scarborough.  When I meet someone who is active politically, either on a professional or volunteer basis, I assume (until/unless I am given reason to think otherwise) that they are in this business for the same reason I am – to make the country and world a better place.  If you start conversations with people who disagree with you assuming that makes them Hitler, you are never going to get anywhere.  If you start from the position that your disagreements are more akin to having differing opinions about the route you should take to the same destination, you can have a real discussion.  Have you ever heard of someone thinking someone else was evil because you thought you should take one road to the grocery store and they thought you should go another way?  No?  Right, because it is a ridiculous thought.

Mika Brzezinski

“Morning Joe” provides these kinds of discussions.  From the hosts themselves – Scarborough, Mike Brzezinski and Willie Geist – to the guests they bring on, the topics they discuss and the atmosphere they provide, real ideas can be exchanged and I learn something every morning.  I have not been keeping track of how often I agree with Scarborough on his politics but it’s not often but then again, agreeing with me has never been a prerequisite for me liking someone.  I have no patience for that sort of thing.

Willie Geist

So why was this week more of a “Morning Joe” week?  Well, I’ll tell you.  (My job does require me to keep up on the news but even if it did not, I am a total political/news junkie and all around nerd, I know this already, no need to tweet me about it.)

On Wednesday, I went to a Politico event on Capitol Hill.  Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough were doing a book signing for her new book, “Knowing your value.”  I have never recommended a book as much as I recommend this one.  At first, I thought that I wanted to buy it for all the women I have ever – or will ever – meet but now I just want to buy it for the entire planet.  I was able to talk to both and it was really fun.  So when I was thinking about writing my monthly plea for people to remember we are all really on the same side, “Morning Joe” seemed like a good example of a way we can communicate and not just yell.   You can download part of the book from iTunes here.  You can also buy it from Amazon here.

As cheesy as this feels to end with, I often think about President Clinton’s line that “There’s nothing wrong with America that cannot be fixed by what’s right with America.”  I think we can say the same about our political system.