Archive for the ‘Democrats’ Category

Scheming Republicans

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on February 9th, 2009

Why are congressional Republicans refusing en masse to support President Obama’s stimulus package? Are they sticking to their guns for conscientious reasons? Or are they just playing politics? If they latter they should keetmpphprjzn7c1.jpgp in mind that 74% of the American public believe that President Obama is trying to compromise with the congressional Republicans while only 39% of Americans believe congressional Republicans are trying to compromise with the President. Some Republicans seem to think that compromise requires equality between two sides to a political dispute. If two individuals both want an apple pie, a compromise requires splitting the pie in two equal halves. According to this view of compromise, both the Republicans and Democrats should each have an equal share of the stimulus pie.  After subtracting those issues upon which there is agreement, each Party should get an equal share of the remainder. In ordinary circumstances, such a conception of compromise might be plausible, but certainly not in politics. If this conception applied to political compromises, why have elections at all. If the will of the electorate was to give the Democrats control of Congress and the Presidency, then the lion’s share of the compromise should go to the Democrats. “Compromise” in a republican democracy means that the electoral winner should take the loser’s suggestions into account and implement some suggestions while rejecting others. During the Bush administration, Democrats were virtually shut out of policy making. Now, President Obama has met with all the congressional Republicans and he’s dropped some elements of the Democratic Congress’s version of the stimulus package the Republicans found unacceptable.  But that’s not enough for congressional Republicans. Why?  They seem to believe that should get an equal share of the pie. But that, in effect, would, betray the verdict in the last election. The Democrats won and are bound by that victory to favor their own programs, especially when up against intransigent Republicans. So what do Republicans want? Their obduracy is hurting the possibility of planting the seeds of an economic recovery. They care more about politics than they do about the nation. Congressional Republicans seem oblivious to the fact that their indifference to the plight of the American public can backfire on their political scheming.

John Nichols on Democratic Blank Checks for Bush’s War

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on June 23rd, 2008

John Nichols’ “Democrats Write a Blank Check for Bush’s War” is a
must-read. Check it out here. The Democrats complicity in this war is
unconscionable.

Obama, the Millennials, and the Possibility of a “Permanent” Progressive Democratic Party

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on May 21st, 2008

Barack Obama, it now seems clear, will be the Democratic presidential “nominee. The promise of a Democratic victory in November is enticing because it suggests we’re in store for a new kind of democrat; indeed, it means a new kind of politics. More accurately, it means washing away the Democratic Party’s abomination, Clintonism, the Republican Party’s favorite Democrats. It returns the Democratic Party to its roots–the oppressed–with one significant difference. That difference is a pragmatic commitment to progressive, deliberative democracy, to working out progressive solutions in a messy universe of conservatism, moderation, and liberalism. Progressive, deliberative democrats don’t insist on winning every battle. What they are dedicated to is exhaustive, respectful discourse involving each major perspective in political and social disputes. Consequently, with deliberative democracy the sky’s the limit. Progressivism, when you can get it; but inclusiveness and respectful interactions with one’s opponents always.

Try to imagine a truly progressive Democratic Party. Then try to imagine that Party becoming the dominant political party in the United States for the next few decades. A fantasy you say! Consider this: “An important aspect of the presidential race so far has been the generational divide, with Barack Obama doing very well with younger voters and Hillary Clinton drawing strong support from those who are older. A similar split can be expected in a general election race between Senator Obama and John McCain. . . . However the election ultimately turns out, the Obama campaign has tapped into a constituency that holds powerful implications for the future of American politics. The youngest of these voters, those ranging in age from roughly the late teens to the early 30s, are part of the so-called millennial generation. . . . This is a generation that is in danger of being left out of the American dream — the first American generation to do less well economically than their parents. And that economic uncertainty appears to have played a big role in shaping their views of government and politics.” Continue reading here. Then check out this video:

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Senator Obama sensed the possibility that the young would change American political culture. His registration drive will doubtlessly achieve more than any other in history in part because the Millennials–individuals born between 1980 and 1995–include roughly 80 million individuals, computer and internet savvy, and who are not jaundiced by the reigning Reagan vision that government is part of the problem not the solution.

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If we could only abandon the entrenched politics discourse denigrating the term “liberal” and using “conservative” almost honorifically. I’ve always found it mysterious that conservatives–some of whom embrace Christianity–refuse to acknowledge that government, the only institution that can lay claim to linking everyone–should not be at the forefront of remedying poverty. How can a “free” market coexist with an ethos of loving one’s neighbor as oneself? Of course, I’m familiar with the various arguments (aka rationalizations) purporting to demonstrate not only the compatibility of free markets and universal compassion, but even those feeble attempts to show that one requires the other. But consider the role of the free market currently creating a wide chasm between the wealthy and the rest of American society. Americans, especially blue collar Americans, have been persuaded to support tax cuts on the wealthy resulting in higher formal and informal taxes on themselves. Those exploited most have been sold a preposterous story supporting conservatism in this nation. It’s time to abandon this story. Obama–and his band of millennials–might be the antidote needed.
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Let’s hope Clintonian narcissism won’t irreparably damage Senator Obama’s chances in the general election. If it does, the Clinton legacy will be secured in infamy forever.Credit for Images

Clinton’s “Nuclear” Option to Win the Nomination

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on May 6th, 2008

3:46 AM
After Tuesday’s primaries, it seems the only possible way for Senator Clinton to win the nomination is to count her wins in Florida and Michigan. Can Senator Clinton win the nomination by persuading the Democratic Party’s Rules and Bylaws Committee to seat the Florida and Michigan delegations? Will she deploy this “secret weapon” defying Party loyalty and commonsense? Consider Thomas B. Edsall’s post at the Huffington Post: “Hillary Clinton’s campaign has a secret weapon to build its delegate count, but her top strategists say privately that any attempt to deploy it would require a sharp (and by no means inevitable) shift in the political climate within Democratic circles by the end of this month. . . . With at least 50 percent of the Democratic Party’s 30-member Rules and Bylaws Committee committed to Clinton, her backers could — when the committee meets at the end of this month — try to ram through a decision to seat the disputed 210-member Florida and 156-member Michigan delegations. Such a decision would give Clinton an estimated 55 or more delegates than Obama, according to Clinton campaign operatives. The Obama campaign has declined to give an estimate. . . . Using the Rules and Bylaws Committee to force the seating of two pro-Hillary delegations would provoke a massive outcry from Obama forces.” Click here to read further. Also check out David Brooks’ column in today’s NY Times distinguishing between two vastly different approaches to political change.

10:11 AM
If Senator Clinton uses the nuclear option, it will not only reverse the rules of her Party, rob the legitimate delegates of their authority, snatch the victory from Senator Obama, and defy any sense of propriety in politics, it will also destroy the Democratic Party’s hope of being a national party for a decade. Let’s hope that the better angels of Senator Clinton’s nature will prevail, enabling her to see vividly that she has lost the nomination.

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Will Obama Be as Thankful Tonight as He was in Iowa?

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on February 5th, 2008

How many more states will Senator Barack Obama thank tonight? Listen to his inspiring Iowa speech.

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Charisma, inspiration, and rock-star status does not a better president make. Substantive values are also critical. Does Obama offer anything in the substantive department? Is he only a harbinger of change without any sense of how American should be changed? Change in itself is of little value, right? Maybe so. Yet, changing to a more inclusive politics, domestically and internationally, transforming American politics to give as much as it takes can constitute an improved deliberative democracy. That is, the art of compromising on policy differences can reinvigorate our political process. Yet, some kinds of change, though “merely” procedural, have enormous value. Indeed, such change represents in itself a substantive value. If elected, can Obama pull it off? Maybe. Today determines, to a large extent, whether he will be given the chance.

Campaigning for President Makes Fearmongers of Democrats Also

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on December 30th, 2007

Don’t think the Republicans have corned the political market on fear mongering. Although President Bush and Vice-President Cheney are expert in appealing to the possibility of terrorism–“World War III” andtelling voters a vote against his wife is a vote for tragedy during the first eighteen months of the next president’s tenure. Although the former president is smoother than the current administration– he’s not as crass or obvious in playing the fear-card–his intent is just the same: frighten grandma and grandpa into voting for his wife just in case Al-Qaeda plans to blow up the Lincoln and Tad monument in Des Moines or a tsunami suddenly hits the landlocked Iowan corn fields. Democratic voters should keep in mind that when “the good guys”–in this case, Democrats–adopt the methods of the bad guys, then they become the bad guys.

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“nuclear holocaust” fighting them there and not here–to squeeze the last few remaining votes from the undecided in a trembling electorate–the Democrats are no minor leaguers in playing the fear-card. With campaign minutes counting down until the Iowa caucuses, Bill Clinton, the Manipulator-in-Chief, is now

Bush-Enabling Democrats

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on September 25th, 2007

Glenn Greenwald’s piece in Salon.com should be read by all Democrats. Here’s the first couple of paragraphs: “In the wake of the series of profound failures that define the 2007 Democratic Congress, there is much debate over what accounts for this behavior. There are almost 300 ‘Congressional Democrats’ and they are not a monolithic group. Some of them are unrelenting defenders of their core liberal political values and some are committed to providing meaningful opposition to the radicalism and corruption of the Bush administration. But as the sorry record of the 2007 Congress conclusively proves, they are easily outnumbered in the House and Senate–especially the Senate–by Bush-enabling and Bush-supporting Democrats. . . . The standard excuse offered by many apologists for Bush-enabling Democrats–that they support the Bush agenda and capitulate to the right-wing noise machine due to political fear of being depicted as too liberal or ‘soft on terror’–is clearly inapplicable to many, if not most, of the enablers. California’s Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein provides a perfect case study for understanding why the Congress has done virtually nothing to oppose the most extreme Bush policies, while doing much actively to support it.” If ever there was a time for a new political party to replace the Democrats . . . that time is now.

How About an Edwards-Obama Ticket?

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on September 4th, 2007

John Edwards has not been taken as seriously as he should in his quest for the Democratic Party nomination for president. But listen to this from CBS-News: “Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards received the endorsement of two unions, the United Steelworkers and the United Mine Workers of America, on Labor Day. Edwards appeared in Pittsburgh, home of the Steelworkers’ international headquarters, for a Monday morning rally. “America was not built on Wall Street. America was built by steelworkers and mine workers,” Edwards said as he accepted their support. The former senator from North Carolina, who has worked hard to get labor endorsements, has also secured the backing of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. The steelworker and mine worker endorsements mean that Edwards now has more labor endorsements than any of the other Democratic presidential candidates.” Now Edwards appears to be the most serious Democrat regarding labor and health issues both of which are related to the well-being of the American economy. If businesses cannot find a way to pay for the health insurance of their employees either the business or the economy will suffer. And if either or both suffer, American economic health will be compromised. Labor and health issues have been historically important issues for the Democratic Party. So consider this: How about an Edwards-Obama ticket? Edwards reflects where the Democrats have been and Obama reflects where the Democrats should be going, not in 2008, but in 2016.

The I-Word is Back

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on March 6th, 2007

The chance of the Democrat controlled Congress initiating impeachment hearings again the Bush administration is negligible. But why? What “crimes and misdemeanors” has he committed? How about the following for starters? (1) lying to the American people about the case for invading Iraq. of course, he wasn’t under oath, so maybe his lies were just “white lies” some prevarication one tells that has no serious consequences, (2) his grossly incompetent planning and execution of the his war in Iraq, (3) unconstitutionally arrogating to the executive branches power an authority that are inherent powers of the Presidency only if the United States Constitution creates a “soft” dictatorship, (4) using funds to carry out covert and illegal operations in the Middle East never appropriated for such purposes–that’s the reason billions of dollars intended for reconstruction of Iraqi society cannot be accounted for (5) in capable or unwilling t to responsibility respond to such natural catastrophe’s as Katrina. But now, Mr. Bush’s criminal negligence extends to the failure to protect the troops both in Iraq and when they return home with life-altering injuries in the VA hospitals throughout the nation.

Democrats haven’t the courage to initiate impeachment proceedings. But even if they did, impeaching Bush (and Cheney) would mean handing the Party that lost the 2004 elections changing the Party in power through impeaching the President and vice-President absolutely forbidden? Liberals somehow believe that in cases where one party controls Congress but not the presidency, impeaching the Pres. and VP flies in the face of republican democracy. These same liberals decry the absence of a constitutionally authorized no-confidence procedure, but when it comes to using procedures constitutionally available, they freeze. But shouldn’t the 2006 congressional elections repudiating Mr. Bush’s war provide substantial evidence that the electorate is open to a power change of this sort? For some mysterious reasons Democrats bark and growl, but when it comes to acting, formalist rationalizations control. For Democrats to display fidelity to the results of the past election they must rethink their timidity for the sake of our troops, the nation, and the world.

Reports of the atrocities at Walter Reed reveal the morally impoverished, hypocritical character of this administration. The negligence at VA hospitals is systemic and just those voices–invoking the troops to justify every major, blunder in Mr. Bush’s war–have conspicuously failed to protect the troops in just those circumstances critical to their rehabilitation. This shameful neglect by top brass is ultimately the administration’s responsibility. Will Congress’ response be sufficient? One minimal step Congress should take is to begin using the I-Word in these hearings. Perhaps, if individual members of Congress begin stating the inquiry into the horrors at Walter Reed by querying whether these failures constitute impeachable crimes, the nation will realize that they are and thus petition Congress to take the appropriate action. In any event, putting the I-Word into the congressional record is critical to a comprehensive evaluation of the Bush presidency when Mr. Bush finally leaves office.