Tag Archives: Democratic Party
Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.
~ Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) announcing his decision to switch from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party, thus giving the Democrats 60 seats once Al Franken is seated.
What does this mean for the filibuster? Very little. Senator Ben Nelson and Specter are still going to moderate votes in the Democratic Caucus, but it will make it easier for Specter to vote with the Democrats. He will no longer have the scorn of an entire caucus when he makes tough choices on bills like the stiumlus.
What this does signify is a massive blow to the Republican Party. This is strong evidence that the Republican Party has relegated itself to being a Southern Regional Party… far too conservate for even mainstream Republicans. To those who think 2010 will be a rough year for Democrats… think again.
Shawty wanna thug
I hear a lot of complaints about our junion Senator from Michigan. Many kevetch that in her one and a half terms in the Senate she has failed to make a name for herself and pass any noteworthy legislation. What we fail to realize is that she sits in a crucial position at this time in history.
Debbie Stabenow is the chair of the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee, which is the powerful group that helps determine committee chairmanships in the new Democratic Congress. Why does this matter?
Debbie Stanbenow controls whether or not Jo Liebs is booted or not… Take that.
From the Detroit News:
A controversial and far-reaching plan to cut the size of the Michigan Legislature and courts, reduce the salaries of top elected officials and impose many other changes on state government was blocked from the November ballot Wednesday by the Michigan Court of Appeals.
The court said the so-called Reform Michigan Government Now! ballot proposal, backed by Michigan Democrats and organized labor, includes so many provisions that it amounts to a “general revision” of the state constitution. And that, the court said, can only be done by calling a constitutional convention.
The backers of the initiative vowed to appeal the decision in the Michigan Supreme Court, but the mostly Republican high court is unlikely to review the decision.
So ends the Michigan Democratic Party’s attempt to take control of the state government by acting like Republicans. While it is true that the deck is currently stacked unfairly against the Democratic Party – with current congressional districts drawn by the Republicans and the state Supreme Court dominated by Republicans protected from defeat by the all-powerful judicial incumbency advantage – this was not the proper solution. By fighting dirty, even against a broken and unfair system, the Michigan Democratic Party acted less like the NAACP and more like the Black Panthers.
I, for one, am loathe to give up what many view as the Democratic Party’s biggest advantage – the inherent integrity of its members. Our party may not be immune to scandal, but the day our ends are used to justify our means is the day I start seriously rethinking my allegiance.
We do not need to reduce ourselves to this – there are still options available. We can reintroduce fairness into Michigan government without trying to skew the system in our favor as the Republicans have done.
We must begin the effort now to call a state constitutional convention in 2010.
The option will be on the ballot in 2010 – it is mandated by the constitution, and no court can remove it. Our constitution is broken. Years and years of ballot initiatives too easily making it into our state’s governing document have left our constitution filled with more potholes than a Michgan road in February. The list goes on and on: discrimination against gays and African Americans, ridiculous non-partisan judicial elections, crippling flat tax rates, insanely short term limits, etc., etc.
For the backers of Reform Michigan Government Now, this is the logical next step. Having failed at gaming the system, they should focus their energy and resources on what should have been their target all along: honest reform of Michigan’s constitution.
This can be done – but we need to make it happen. Talk to your friends about it. Help them understand how bent and broken our system of government has become in it’s old age. Starting November 5th, we have two full years to accomplish this goal, and we should waste no time getting started.
Our state needs us.
Hillary just sent out the following message to her supporters:
I wanted you to be one of the first to know: on Saturday, I will hold an event in Washington D.C. to thank everyone who has supported my campaign. Over the course of the last 16 months, I have been privileged and touched to witness the incredible dedication and sacrifice of so many people working for our campaign. Every minute you put into helping us win, every dollar you gave to keep up the fight meant more to me than I can ever possibly tell you.
On Saturday, I will extend my congratulations to Senator Obama and my support for his candidacy. This has been a long and hard-fought campaign, but as I have always said, my differences with Senator Obama are small compared to the differences we have with Senator McCain and the Republicans.
I have said throughout the campaign that I would strongly support Senator Obama if he were the Democratic Party’s nominee, and I intend to deliver on that promise.
When I decided to run for president, I knew exactly why I was getting into this race: to work hard every day for the millions of Americans who need a voice in the White House.
I made you — and everyone who supported me — a promise: to stand up for our shared values and to never back down. I’m going to keep that promise today, tomorrow, and for the rest of my life.
I will be speaking on Saturday about how together we can rally the party behind Senator Obama. The stakes are too high and the task before us too important to do otherwise.
I know as I continue my lifelong work for a stronger America and a better world, I will turn to you for the support, the strength, and the commitment that you have shown me in the past 16 months. And I will always keep faith with the issues and causes that are important to you.
In the past few days, you have shown that support once again with hundreds of thousands of messages to the campaign, and again, I am touched by your thoughtfulness and kindness.
I can never possibly express my gratitude, so let me say simply, thank you.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
9:21 AM: I am now here in the ballroom at the Rules and Bylaws Committee. This required being in line online at 10AM on the dot on Tuesday to grab one of the about 200 tickets available. To get here, I had to wake up at 8AM, something I would not recommend on a weekend. I got here by about 8:55 off of the Metro. I found another Democratic Obama supporter from Michigan and we walked to the hotel. Then, there were the protestors out front.
I was actually disappointed because I wanted to see more. There were probably about 500 to 1000 total protestors in front of the hotel, none of whom were for Obama who I saw. The Clinton supporters were about 70-80 percent female, most of whom seemed to be baby boomers. They were impressively organized. There were shirts which had been made. There was a group of black women all chanting wearing some of those shirts that you can see above. The biggest one you heard was â€œCount the Votesâ€. That was basically all it was as that just kept getting repeated. I counted about eight police cars and twenty policeman just in my approach to the hotel.
I walked in the hotel and I realized that my camera had died. I was excited for taking lots of pictures, but itâ€™s rather difficult to do when you havenâ€™t used it for many months. It took three levels of security to get into the auditorium. First, my paper and ID were checked to go up the staircase to get to the second level. Sitting right by that guard was a line of people who looked like they had been sitting there since before 6AM, trying to get an overflow seat. The guard was directing people towards the Omni Hotel, where the meeting was apparently being beamed in through satellite.
A word about the hotel itself. It is nice. Like, really nice. The valet parking lanes out front has a lot of BMWs. There are a lot of people who paid a lot of money to stay here, who donâ€™t really care about the Democratic Rules and Bylaws Committee. They are definitely not the happiest about this crush of people trying to get in and the multitude of protestors outside. There is a Starbucks out in front of the long driveway in front of the hotel, where I heard that some hotel guests peeked their heads out and turned ashen at what they saw.
I got up the stairs and went to another room where I handed in my pass and showed my license once again. On the list, in the C-G last name line at least, I was one of four people from Michigan. My guess is that we are sorely underrepresented. I walked into the hall at about 9:05. It was already mostly full. The good seats were basically gone. I am now sitting on the floor. It should be comfortable in like 3 hours.
9:40-Meeting is gaveled to order. OMG Howard Dean. The RBC is organized at tables set up in a rectangle. Dean is at the tip of the rectangle facing the crowd. The crowd is about 60% Obama supporters I would say. It makes sense, given the heavy Obama lean in the DC area. There are a good amount of Clinton supporters wearing their T-Shirts.
9:44-Officially started. Sign language interpreter coming. Chair giving a speech about how great it is that there are so many people here. Some self-depreciating remarks about how nobody normally cares about the RBC.
9:45: Attendence-This guys playing to the cameras. Apparently, itâ€™s on CNN, C-SPAN, and is broadcast around the world. Fun microphone issues. Names I recognize: Donna Brazile, Mark Brewer, Harold Ickes, For some reason, everybody decided to show up.
9:50: Pledge of Alleigance-Iâ€™m confused. I thought we all hated America, but now we donâ€™t any more after saying that?
9:50-Howard Dean-Rah-rah speech about how great our candidates were. Can not pronounce the word â€œfoughtâ€. It came out as â€œfaughrtâ€. Thanks Obama and Clinton for building the party. 35 Million people have come out to support Democrats? Wow. Applause line for 3 special election victories. Women are up to 60% of the Democratic electorate and young vote has tripled/quadrupled in some states. 7 combined primary vote counts in Ohio counties exceeded Kerryâ€™sâ€™ vote count there. Wants us to work for down-ballot races too.
9:58-Dean tells a story about how he was angry at the Democratic Party. Gore talked to him and said â€œItâ€™s not about you, itâ€™s about your country.â€ Gore is awesome. Brings up sexist comments from the media (Chris Matthews) and the Hillary supporters clap and bring up racist comments and the Obama supporters clap. Obamaâ€™s are louder. He then talked about us uniting again. The angry Hillary woman in front of me did not clap. Dean talks about respecting the wills of the voters who voted in FL and MI and those who did not vote, the campaigns, and the 48 other states who did not break the rules. My verdict: Half votes for delegates. Angry Hillary Woman was not happy about that.
10:03: Legs already asleep. Plus I am underdressed. I am probably the single youngest person in the hall and might be the only person wearing shorts. Thereâ€™s a lot of suits, including a guy in a seersucker. Itâ€™s delightfully absurd looking. Sorry, Iâ€™m just not really into that.
10:07-Intro by Alexis Herman who talked about how they formed the nominating calendar, including the need for geographic, ethnic, and economic diversity in the pre-states. This was back in March 2006 where they went through much debate; 12 states came forward including MI. Decided on NV and SC into that pre-window. Idea of committee revisiting its discretion to impose the sanction. Sheâ€™s a stickler. Chose to impose penalty because
a. There was a vigorous process that decided things and there were many states who wanted to violate the timing, so the body had to send a very strong signal to prevent additional states from moving forward to contribute to additional front loading
b. Laws indicated that when there are no delegates at stake, candidates were free to campaign in the states.
This will definitely be important later.
1016: The FDP blamed the state legislature and the Republican governor. Committee imposed a 100 percent sanction. It was thought that other states would violate the 2/5 window and the committee had to be harsh. Said that Florida should do its own event later. Talks a lot about precedent and the other states. That was a really fair description. I didnâ€™t know a lot of that stuff.
1021: Two main claims
1. DNC charter says superdelegate status cannot be taken away
2. State partyâ€™s violation can only result in 50% total reduction
1024: DNC member Jon Osmond is the main speaker. He would be played in a movie by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, minus about twenty pounds. His point is that all bodies are subordinate to and must be consistent to the charter, with the idea that the word â€œshallâ€ implies a burden that implies that there is no way for the committee to take it away. Heâ€™s good. I am highly persuaded right now. On the other hand, Iâ€™m sure the committee will bring up some umbrella authority which will smack him down.
1044: The first questioner smacks him down. Wow. He asks about whether or not they can take away superdelegate votes, while still seating them as delegates. The answer is not good.
1046: The next guy, Fowler, just brings up the legislative history and how superdelegates were supposed to have the same role as a pledged delegate.
1055: He pulled out some cool charts and graphs to show results of the primary and what potential penalties could net for Hillary. Iâ€™m hungry and itâ€™s time for a break. Breakfast would have been a great idea.
11AM: Senator Bill Nelson is talking right now. He supports counting everything and ensuring full delegation. Talks about disenfranchising in 2000 and applies that to here.
1115: Nelson got angry. He really feels like they got forced to have this date and was really not happy about going through this entire process. Itâ€™s weird to see a US Senator get angry like that.
1122: Hillary campaign speaker is a black, female, State Senator from the Tampa area. She gave a shout-out to all the people here from Florida. I applaud any time an elected official gives a shout out
1126: â€œFlorida is a microcosm of this nationâ€™s diversity. We are black, brown, red, yellow, and whiteâ€
1140: She did a pretty good job. It was a rather emotional speech, with 4 anecdotes of people voting. It gets annoying when people clap after any time an explicitly partisan or favorable statement or question is made. It goes on for a while and disrupts the flow. Its main pupose seems to be for supporters of the candidates to feel good about themselves. Given that most of the applause lines have come for Hillary supporters, thatâ€™s who most of my annoyance is directed towards, although some Obama supporters are being a bit annoying about it as well.
1143: Donna Brazile got massive applause. People here watch a lot of CNN. Her question is a bit weird. She talks about diversity and including all interests to reflect the diversity of Florida. It seems to be a question about the DNC affirmative action procedures for the delegation. Iâ€™m sure that thereâ€™s a massive back story behind this, but itâ€™s just a bit weird to see something like this as a question right here.
1146: Iâ€™m eating in the room when weâ€™re not supposed to be. I feel like I should have at least half of my watching privileges revoked.
1149: This is the first Obama speaker and itâ€™s Congressman Robert Wexler from Broward and Palm Beach, a renowned fan of coke and strippers, at least according to Colbert. The cheer from the crowd says that itâ€™s definitely an Obama crowd. I truly am not sure where heâ€™s going to go with this.
1150: Never mind. Heâ€™s going straight for a compromise position.
1153: The word pledge is said for the first time. This is a rather important point.
1157: Obama campaign supports the Ausman petition with cutting the delegation in half. Wexler said Obama should be commended for that. I heard a hiss for the first time coming from somebody in anger. I was impressed because I didnâ€™t think that anybody did that since 1900.
1205: Wexler was right but wrong. More Republicans than Democrats came out in Florida. However, it was not the only state. Arizona, Utah, Alaska, Michigan and Alabama all had the same thing. Two of them were home states for Republican candidates and the other two were lightly contested for Democrats in heavily Republican states. And then thereâ€™s Michigan and Florida. Hmm.
1210: Important point here brought up. The Obama campaign, it sounds like, wants to vet the Florida delegates which it did not do before.
1217: Wexler got testy as well.
1225: Itâ€™s time for Michigan. Things are unsurprisingly running a bit late, so theyâ€™re postponing lunch. People are pissed. Iâ€™m still eating pretzels. I see Mark Brewer who is a member of the RBC and I think John Conyers. Iâ€™m sort of disappointed I donâ€™t see Debbie Dingell yet, although I assume that she will show up.
1230: Brewerâ€™s talking. I love that gravelly voice. Levin, John Conyers, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Blanchard, Bonior, and Debbie Dingell are all here. Thatâ€™s basically all of the major people from the state. Brewer proposes seating all delegates 69-59, compared to the 73-55 for Uncommitted.
1233: Brewer is saying that we already got punished enough. He does have a point about how we were bypassed.
1236: How the primary was not fair and why 69-59 is better
1238: Obama got 30/36 uncommitted delegates at the conventions. Thatâ€™s the first time that Iâ€™ve heard that one put forward. I knew the MDP had the numbers, but it was not particularly public.
1239: Why Clinton does not deserve 55-a. Exit polls put her at 45 that day
b. Write in votes were thrown away-30k uncounted write in votes statewide. Vast majority were probably for Obama.
Proposal adjusts delegate allocation and corrects it to true state of voter preference
1243: I just realized that itâ€™s like the State of the Union. Half the audience agrees and claps for one sentence and the other half cheers for the next sentence. I think thatâ€™s the best analogy.
1245: An RBC member is annoying me. Sheâ€™s pretending like Uncommitted means a truly uncommitted delegate, treating them like superdelegates. They were basically all Obama people.
1250: Alice in Wonderland has been brought up twice, once to describe the election that took place and one to describe the proposed reallocation. Itâ€™s deliciously absurd.
1254: I like that Ickes is on this committee. He brings a nakedly Clinton perspective, yet it is highly necessary. He brings up highly important points like the candidates removing themselves from the ballot.
102: Carl Levin: Brings up the Group of 4 who is trying to solve everything from MI: Kilpatrick, Levin, D. Dingell, and Ron Gettelfinger of the UAW. Goes for the unity theme. I am impressed that the MDP Executive Committee came up with a compromise like this.
107: Levin has already said â€œunityâ€ 17 times.
109: Levin is going after Iowa and New Hampshire. It was one of the few substantive points that got a lot of clapping from both sides. He is really going after New Hampshire and after the DNC for not enforcing the rules about New Hampshire jumping ahead of South Carolina and Nevada.
113: Heâ€™s still going off on New Hampshire
116: Still going. Something tells me that if Carl Levin ran for president, he would not win the New Hampshire primary.
125: Pretzels are done. Am lusting after my sandwich.
135: Harold Ickes is pissed. The Clinton camp, as represnted by Ickes is fighting back hard on these. He hates the idea of officially apportioning Uncommitted to Obama and of proportioning some delegates from Clinton to Obama. This is probably some of the angriest rhetoric that Iâ€™ve heard. Heâ€™s specifically talking about how the committee does not have the jurisdiction to hear reapportionment of delegates. Itâ€™s the first time the Credentials Committee has been put forward. Things got quiet and a little scary for a second there, because that implies another two and a half months of primary.
140: Levin responds with a smackdown saying â€œYouâ€™re calling for full recognition of a flawed primaryâ€ to thunderous applause. I love Carl Levin. My god is he awesome. Plus he just used variations on unity/unify five times in three sentences.
144: Bonior for the Obama campaign. He just spent 5 minutes rehashing what we already knew.
1:51-Bonior proposes an even split to a shower of boos and cheers. I understand what heâ€™s saying, but I doubt that theyâ€™re going to buy this even split. My predictions right now:
MI and FL will get full superdelegates and Â½ delegations based on the results from original primaries. Uncommitted with stay uncommitted, technically, although Obama supporters will make up the vast majority of that delegation. Which is actually pretty much what I thought it would be the whole time.
154: More hissing.
210: Another really important line here, same as in Florida. The Obama campaign wants to be part of discussions that have been involved for Michigan. This means that they want to be able to vet every delegate and choose the people who they want representing them in DC
215: Blanchard is now here to talk for Clinton. Heâ€™s keeping it really simple. I strongly dislike him right now.
220: At this point, there is really nothing new to say. People are already convinced one way or the other. Right now, there is just a general lust for Lunch.
224: I see lots of different passes here. They gave Guest ones to all the people who signed up online. There’s also RBC, Staff, and Press badges. I think a staff one would be fun. An RBC one would be even better.
244: Blanchard’s still talking. I just got annoyed at myself because I just got pissed. Jim Blanchard just said “Nobody told anybody that their vote wouldn’t count”. That is complete and utter bullshit. I had to answer the question of “Why should we vote for uncommitted if Obama’s not on the ballot and it won’t count?” There’s also a really obvious reason why turnout was so low compared to the Republicans. I keep going back to this, but look at this map:
Look at Michigan and Florida. Look at how much they stand out.
The recent campaign spat over Senator Obama’s remarks about “bitter” Americans has blown into a full force whirlwind of campaign attacks and defenses leading up to the Pennsylvania primary. While both sides are right in attacking and defending statements made in the campaign – we are now lowering the level of debate to a point that is in the disinterest of all those involved. This campaign is now at the point where the in-fighting between Clinton and Obama has reached proportions that could do serious damage to the Democratic Party and our chances in the 2008 election.
I do not write this as a Obama or Clinton supporter. I am writing this out of my complete frustration over the lowbrow debate that has arisen in this campaign. What Barack Obama said is a logical, truthful, and accurate argument about the alienation of a large part of American society. This argument was explored in-depth in the book What’s the Matter With Kansas. His phrasing was poor, which has consistently been the down fall of Democrats (see everything that spilled out of John Kerry’s mouth). At this point this debate could have developed into one of the larger socio-economic issues that alienate certain groups – a debate Clinton could have engaged Obama in respectively and intelligently.
Instead, by fault of both candidates, they picked the easy political route. Clinton attacked, joining with McCain, calling Obama an elitist. Obama retorted – Hillary claimed she duck hunted – Obama stood silent – Hillary made an ad. Obama did not take the high road of Hope and annihilate Clinton’s initial steps with a powerful defense of his thoughts, but rather engaged with dirty quotes – a poor political choice.
Now the two are doing what Democrats do best. They are destroying each other. They have started a slippery-slope of accusations wherein they are attempting to out-common each other. Their attempts to appear “in sync” with the American people are foolish at this point. It is one thing to participate in campaign events to reach out to voters, but to do so in the context of “being a common person” is ridiculous. Both sides are opening themselves up for the Republicans favorite arsenal of attacks… the same ones that has held them in power for so long. This time we are writing their talking points and ads for them – pro bono.
This could have been an excellent chance to demonstrate how Bush/McCain Republicans are out of touch with small-town America, and engage each other in a debate on how to address the frustration and anxiety of the people many of us know. A situation of dialogue appears to be a false hope… just like the one wherein Al Gore is our President. What scares me is that in 4 years I don’t want to have to watch Obama or Hillary on SNL postulating what could have been.
Stop. Stop with this horrendous line of attack. One or both of the candidates must rise above their strategists and their handlers to roll back the damage done in the past week. Obama – you may succeed at taking the nomination, but your integrity has taken a hit – a large part of that is due to your inability to see opportunity in a mistake. Clinton – you may win at any price, but you will lose the election if you continue to run attacks befitting of Rove. Stop. This also goes for surrogates across the nation. Engaging your fellow Democrats in this debate will not help your candidate come November… be apart of the positive dialogue and put pressure on your candidate to stop. Please, for the sake of my sanity. Stop.
â€œTheyâ€™ll promise you anything, give you a long list of proposals and even come around, with TV crews in tow, to throw back a shot and a beer.â€
~ Barack Obama – In Pittsburgh – In his strongest rebuke of Hillary Clinton over the recent flap over his “bitter” comments (Bitter-Gate?). The row began with Obama stated that many small town voters are “bitter” due to their economic situation, thus they retreat to issues of guns, God, and gabortion – I really wanted that alliteration. Hillary responded with a barrage of attacking Obama’s liberal elitism, also stating she had hunted and demonstrated her commonness by taking shots in a bar. Anyway, DISCUSS!
Jack Lessenberry wrote a recent essay on what the consequences of a weak Kwame Kilpatrick on November’s general elections. In it, he argues that a weak mayor spells trouble for a Democratic candidate in November.
But hereâ€™s what should really worry the Democrats, at least in Michigan. No Democratic presidential candidate can carry the state without a healthy turnout from Detroit. George Bush actually carried the rest of Michigan both times â€“ till the counters got to the city line.
Any Democrat will get more than 90 percent of the cityâ€™s vote. But what is essential is turnout. And if the mayor is still fighting his felony charges, theyâ€™ll have massive problems.
National and state Democrats will treat the city as though it were radioactive. The presidential candidate, whomever it is, isnâ€™t going to be seen with Mayor Text Message. And the mayor is likely to be too preoccupied to oversee an essential get out the vote operation.
With a mayor, who usually provides massive guidance in Get Out The Vote efforts in Detroit, in such a ugly scandal the Democratic candidates will avoid this crucial city in an effort to distance themselves from the toxicity “Mayor Text Message.” If Republicans are good at one thing it is their ability to frame and misconstrue simple acts like standing next to the Mayor at a campaign event as complicity in corruption.
With the campaigns avoiding Detroit the Democrats face a real problem when it comes to voter turnout in Detroit. Do you think this is going to be a problem for Democrats? What should we do about? What can the Democratic Party do to sidestep the quagmire of Manoogian Mansion and win Michigan? DISCUSS!