Category Archives: Democratic Party
After massive protest and internal strife at the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the group has decided to continue funding Planned Parenthood, a group making sure women have access to vital medical care of all different shapes and sizes. This, of course, reflects poorly on the Komen organization as a whole. While its reversal will give it more support, this is a case study in what needs to happen to get right wing lunatic politics out of women’s rights issues. I believe it’s time to follow the example of Barack Obama, a deeply religious man who leans on prayer for strength, something millions of Americans do every day, but a man who keeps those convinctions out of day-to-day governing.
Women have faced a relentless assault against their rights since the Republicans have taken power in Michigan and in the US House of Representatives, including an ultrasound bill which would force women to watch and listen to a possibly traumatic ultrasound, a crushing blow to the right to choose. It’s interesting how Republicans claim to be the party of “small government” in elections, yet the second they take power then “big government” is just fine when it comes to social issues like women’s and LGBTQ rights Just this past December, domestic-partner benefits were banned when Gov. Rick Snyder signed House Bill 4770 which does exactly as described above.
These reasons above are why this organization will need to work tirelessly this November to make sure progressives are elected from the White House on down. This kind of brutal assault on basic human rights is not reflective of our great country, and there is nothing more important than getting Michigan back on the right track again after this incredible derailment.
January 31, 2012 marks the Florida GOP primary, where the boring, safe pick of Mitt Romney goes up against blustering philanderer Newt Gingrich in a battle royale of mediocrity. There is also Santorum and Paul, and the less to be said about them, the better.
For the nerdiest of politicos, you can check out the raw poll numbers at Real Clear Politics. The short of it is that polls originally showed Romney ahead in the state by anywhere from 2-40 points, but Gingrich began pulling ahead in a few last week. At this point however Romney has regained the lead by Gingrich’s ineptitude and the fact that most right wing establishment people really really really don’t like Newt Gingrich. Therefore Romney will most likely take Florida, with what I believe will be a rather thin margin around 5-7%. Florida has been seen as Romney territory for a long time due to the demographics of the GOPers in the state, and despite the brief Gingrich surge, Romney has regained the momentum in both the race and the debates.
On the other side of things, Current Commander in Chief and Denard Robinson fan Barack Obama has pulled ahead of Romney in Florida by 8 points, and is now leading national polls with an RCP average of 2.2%. While this is a thin margin compared to the other candidates, this is definitely a promising turn of events. As College Dems, we truly need to do everything in our power to maintain this advantage because we cannot let Mitt Romney or any other GOP candidate have the White House. What Republican governors have pulled against unions, women, and basically everyone except the 1% of richest Americans, is enough to give any rational person pause. It’s definitely time to put all of our energy as an organization into ringing every phone, knocking every door, registering tons of voters, and talking to everyone we can about the need to re-elect Barack Obama and all the democrats down the ticket this November.
The 2012 State of the Union was yet another eloquently delivered speech by our president, Barack Obama. While talking to a buddy of mine who isn’t entirely on the progressive side of things, he admitted that “it’s good to have a President that doesn’t make up words and sayings.” My sentiments entirely. Far gone are the Bush days of “misunderestimating,” “Axes of Evil,” and being the laughingstock of the world. Our President also showed his bipartisan nature by highlighting many things the two sides agree on, including merging six government agencies into one, cutting out needless bureaucracy, rewarding teachers for doing a good job and inspiring their students, strengthening the border, and cutting taxes for companies that keep jobs here in America. He then essentially threw the ball in the Congressional court, telling them that if they pass bills with the above ideas that both sides agree on, he will “sign them right away.”
He additionally gave progressives a lot to be happy about, with his statements on asking the Top 2% of Americans to pay their fair share, citing Mitt Romney’s insanely low tax percentage as evidence that the richest Americans are getting away with paying the same percentage of taxes as the bus driver or coal miner barely making ends meet. He highlighted the need for environmental change, citing what he’s already done and what he plans to do with increasing funding for natural gas, wind, solar, and biofuel research. He also showed the three million job increase that has occured in the last 22 months, a revolutionary increase in jobs. Finally, he said that enough was enough with Congresspeople engaging in insider trading, and requesting a fair playing field for all people living in this country.
Whether or not you support progressivism (although if you’re reading this you probably do), it’s hard to deny Barack Obama’s still got game. It’s time for Washington embrace the no-drama attitude Obama has embodied for years, and get things done in this country. I’m proud Obama is the leader of my party, and am beyond honored that he’s coming to U of M to speak at the Al Glick Field House on Friday (get your tickets at the Michigan Union Ticket Office tomorrow morning at 9 am!). Seeing the man in person will certainly be an honor.
As pretty much everyone and their mother knows by now, the “debt ceiling,” a Congressionally mandated line-in-the-sand that the U.S. National Debt is not allowed to surpass, has been surpassed and must be raised incredibly soon to avoid possible depression, collapse of the world banking industry, and essentially total ruin. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has gone on record saying that the deal to raise the debt ceiling must go through by August 2 and that there are “no other option(s) to buy more time for Congress.” With that said, deals usually require some form of compromise, right? While both sides agree the national debt must come down in the long term in order to facilitate this short term ceiling rise, the Democrats and Republicans each have key ways to make this happen. In a compromise then, logic dictates, each side would get some of what they want.
In the case of the debt ceiling, Democrats want to preserve entitlements so that what’s left of the social safety net in America can be secured, ask the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more, and trim the enormously bloated defense budget slightly. Republicans want to keep taxes cut as low as they are for Americans, cut spending on entitlements, and save the defense budget. While Obama has signaled he would accept a 3:1 ratio as part of the deal (3 parts spending cut to one part revenue gain through asking those making half a million or more to pay a little extra), that is still apparently not enough for the Republicans in the House and Senate. When Boehner signaled he was leaning toward accepting the deal, he faced an enormous backlash from his own party. Of course, the GOP is veering so far to the right that there are plenty of Tea Party Caucus GOP members who will vote against the debt ceiling increase regardless, including chair Michelle Bachmann.
So, analysis time. In sum, I believe Obama has the upper hand here. He has clearly signaled to the American people his willingness to compromise and cut spending on prized programs such as Medicare and defense, and in exchange he is asking for the very wealthiest to pay a bit more. I feel the American public will side with Obama on this issue because raising taxes on the wealthy has always polled incredibly well. A PPP poll of four swing states showed that 80% of voters in said states supported tax increases on those making a million dollars or more a year.
In short, the GOP look like the babies in this situation with their refusal to budge even a bit. One modest show of centrism by Boehner was met with a proverbial crowd of angry Republicans with torches and pitchforks. They are putting total economic collapse on the table just so that their wealthy friends can avoid paying a bit more on taxes. That is a message that the David Plouffe-led White House communication staff will be playing hard and fast from now all the way through the 2012 elections, guaranteed. Boehner and the GOP still have a chance to show that they can see the light and veer a bit back to the saner days of Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich, when compromises were actually able to go through leading to a balanced budget, but I wouldn’t exactly be betting the farm on that one.
Huzzah. In the Elections of 2010 all across the country, voters elected GOP members with the expectation that they would help fix the jobs and overspending issues in America. Instead, they decided it would be a good idea to crusade against the rights of everyday Americans, like the recent campaign to get rid of collective bargaining- a basic right of hardworking public sector union members to ensure a decent wage and a safe working environment. They also attacked women’s rights, with national efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, an organization that works to help many rights that women had fought for through centuries. Now, the assault is on domestic partnerships.
The GOP-led Congress in Michigan has attempted to strip away benefits those in the LGBT community have enjoyed in the state through a bill called SCR9. While the bill passed the Senate, 11 Democrats were needed in the House to defect from the party line and vote for this. Luckily, Democrats (save two defections) were able to stave off this blatant assault on gay rights. Unfortunately, the Republicans seem hell-bent on ramming this legislation through, so this is going to require a watchful eye on the part of all progressives. For now, however, benefits have been saved for domestic partners- a victory for human rights and the progressive movement.
The obligatory disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein reflect only the views of the author and don’t represent the opinions of any organization with “D” in it. Be thankful, organizations with “D”, you are guaranteed to be much more witty than I could ever muster.
-President Obama delivered his State of the Union address last night and gave a very centrist speech, with a few bones to progressives (high speed rail, DREAM act) and the right (spending freeze, regulation reform). Meanwhile, Charles Bogren was listening to a different speech, and when asked his thoughts he responded with a drooling word salad of “liberals liberals liberals Communism evil aliens.”
-WolvPAC wants the University to start an Israel program since apparently the students have the option of studying abroad in every other country ever, except Israel. Because the University has always been keen on sending its undergraduates to the lands of Fidel Castro and Kim Jong-il.
-The Michigan Daily Editorial: Banish the smoking ban!! Have cigarette smoke fill the University forevermore! Huzzah!
-Lighting is causing all the crime in Ann Arbor. Too bad Michele Bachmann just started leading a crusade in her State of the Union rebuttal against lightbulbs.
-Yay for Sundance short films coming to Michigan! The pinnacle of cinematography, the festival includes “Mr. Okra,” a story about a man who sells fruits and vegetables from his truth in New Orleans, singing about his vegetables. Finally, a movie geared to the small, but vibrant druggie culture in Ann Arbor.
-Rich Rod is joining CBS as a guest analyst. Funny, I had seen him working at the Bursley Dining Hall on occasion the past few weeks. Looks like he’s moving on up.
-According to the Random Pointless Student Interview, North Campus sucks. Kudos to the Michigan Daily esteemed newspaper for day in, day out, telling us things we knew the first day of setting foot on Ann Arbor soil.
For all who read through the whole thing, thank you.
In his State of the Union address tonight, President Obama will likely call for increased bipartisanship in Congress. He obviously needs to reach out to the other side, given the GOP’s majority in the House, but his message will likely serve as a complement to a larger narrative against partisanship altogether. While Americans have questioned the country’s system of political parties since the country’s founding, it seems that recent months have seen an increase in calls for nonparisanship by groups like No Labels. Unfortunately, these calls are misguided, albeit well intentioned.
Those calling for “no labels” seem ignorant to the amount of information that voters have on candidates when casting their ballots: often little more than party affiliation. That said, party affiliation is a remarkable indicator of policy positions and serves as a reliable heuristic for the low-information voter. Like it or not, only a tiny fraction of the electorate is well-informed and our system is designed to allow most people to worry about activities other than politics (such as earning money, as John Locke would argue). American parties also lack the power and cohesion seen elsewhere in the world; parties in parliamentary systems, such as in the United Kingdom, could not imagine the lack of party discipline in the American system.
So, cheers for partisanship (and even bipartisanship as long as the Democrats need GOP votes to pass legislation). And clap for the Democrats during the State of the Union tonight.
There is no question our Commander in Chief is quite happy right now. First, of course, he’s going to Hawaii. That would make pretty much everyone elated, especially those dealing with the freezing cold up here in Michigan. The biggie, however, is the massive amount of legislative victories and ability to reach across the aisle to those difficult-to-compromise-with Republicans over the past few weeks. Normally, the lame duck session, or the session following a Congressional election but preceding the formation of a new Congress, is quite uneventful. Rachel Maddow said on her 92Y special last night on MSNBC that pundits were expecting perhaps “a few post offices to be renamed.” But this could not be further from the truth, as we have seen this White House finally come out and fight hard for common-sense policy items that are heavily favored by the American people. Let’s go down the list, shall we?
New START Treaty ratified by the Senate. A treaty requires 67 votes to be ratified, or made law, in the US Senate. The New START treaty was one of the items on the lame duck agenda that Washington heavily pushed. All six living Republican secretaries of state supported it, as did the joint chiefs of staff, and Republican members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Still, however, Republican leaders in the Senate headed by Jon Kyl, minority whip, asked for more time and more funding for “infrastructure”. In the end, this was pushed to a vote and made it in just three days before Christmas, ratified 71-26. Now, we don’t have to worry about a Second Cold War breaking out and all of humanity perishing as we know it. Yay!
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repealed. A major progressive victory no matter how you look at it, the House and Senate passed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and its full implementation across the board will only take a matter of months, according to Obama himself. Better late than never, as we were the second to last NATO country to allow homosexuals in, but no matter what all of Obama’s critics on the left have to admit this was a fantastic legislative accomplishment.
Food Safety Act passed. Anyone who has read Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation knows how loose FDA regulations are. This bill will help make America’s food safer across the board by imposing stricter regulations.
The 9/11 First Responder Health Care Bill passed (unanimously!) Despite Tea Party Republicans’ best attempts to stifle a bill giving health care to those who bravely risked their lives on September the 11th, a scathing indictment over the past week by Jon Stewart and others prompted the Senate into action. The bill passed without objection.
Pell Grants, Unemployed benefits Extended. The tax cut compromise proposed by Obama two weeks ago was roundly criticized by liberals, but within it were some golden nuggets that will really help those who need the help most- students and the unemployed. Pell Grants will continue to be funded at the current amount, and God knows for me that’s essentially the only way I can attend U of M. Also, for millions of Americans who are unemployed and were worried the Congress would play politics with their benefits, they can enjoy a nice meal for Christmas and rest a bit easier. Paul Krugman, one of the leading economists in the world, points to unemployment benefits as the best economic stimulus, as the impoverished need to spend the money on goods to keep going- stimulating business, ushering in new jobs, all that good stuff.
Sure, some post offices were probably renamed too, but you’d be hard pressed to find a time in Congressional history since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt where this much has been accomplished. The tax cut compromise allowed a temporary extension of tax cuts for the wealthy, and in exchange all this has been accomplished in a matter of days. According to a CNN poll released on December 22, voters approve of Obama’s handling of the lame duck session 56-41, while voters disapprove of Republicans’ handling 53-42. Similarly, on the issue of compromise, the tax cut decision went well with voters as 59-37 percent believe Obama has done enough to reach across the aisle, whereas 68% thought Republicans weren’t doing enough in return. This poll highlights what happens when Obama fights for the extremely popular policies that he championed when running for office. Now, for the next few days, Obama can rest easy, eat lots of food, and participate in those wonderful Hawaiian luaus and know that he has really proven himself as the leader of this nation. Merry Christmas to my fellow Dems, Happy Kwanzaa if you are so inclined, and Happy New Year. Huzzah.