Tag Archives: democrats
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.
Weatherproof: Just like the Democratic Party.
After eating too much chocolate and staring dolefully at my bedroom ceiling for the last few days, I have finally dragged myself to the computer to write this post. None of us — especially those of us who invested countless hours into campaigning — want to acknowledge the Republicans’ sweep on Tuesday. While a GOP majority in the House doesn’t bode well for substantive policy over the next two years, it’s critical for us, as progressives, to recognize some of the positive things that came out of November 2, 2010.
Legalizing weed got more votes than Meg Whitman: Yes, you read that right. While Proposition 19 — the legalization of marijuana — failed to pass in California, the measure still received 321,439 more votes than GOP gubernatorial candidate, Meg Whitman. The corporate candidate shattered campaign spending records with a cool $160 million, including $141.5 million of her own funds. (That could pay my college tuition a couple times over, you know.) And despite her general election flip-flopping and heavy investment in wooing Latino voters, her Democratic opponent Jerry Brown cruised to victory with support of 64 percent of Hispanic voters.
People still have to be born in Colorado: In Colorado, Amendment 62 would have “would have outlawed abortion at every stage of gestation, would have outlawed all forms of hormonal contraception, and would have made it difficult if not impossible for pregnant women to receive medical treatment if there was any chance of harming the pregnancy.” Such legislation, which values the survival of a fertilized egg over a living woman’s, is part of the supposed “personhood” movement. It’s genuinely crazypants legislation, so as a whole-hearted pro-choice advocate, I am relieved that the Amendment failed (for the second time around!) by 72 percent to 28 percent, at last count.
But don’t worry, they’re going to try a third time in 2012.
Democrats did win — some tough races too: We don’t have to go very far to find one competitive race that Democrats won — just look at MI-09, where Gary Peters beat Rocky Ralksjdfa;ksdf-something despite the Republican party throwing thousands of dollars in negative everything. In Colorado, Democrat John Hickenlooper won the governorship over Palin-backed Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo and Republican Dan Maes. Moreover, Michael Bennet won the Colorado Senate seat over Republican Ken Buck — man who said he should be elected over his primary opponent because he “doesn’t wear heels.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pushed to a victory over Sharron Angle. Pat Quinn in Illinois won the governor’s race over Bill Brady, despite series of polls leading to the election indicating otherwise.
Proposition 23 fails resoundingly in California: Delivering a decisive victory to environmental activists and the state’s clean energy economy, Prop 23 failed by an overwhelming 61 percent to 39 percent. Prop 23 — naturally filed by the oil industry — would suspend provisions of California’s greenhouse gas law until until California’s unemployment rate drops to 5.5% or below for four consecutive quarters. (As the current rate is 12.4%, the wording seemed to trick voters and many worried that it would freeze California’s regulations cutting carbon emissions indefinitely.)
It’s hard to look for the good in the post-election drudgery, but it is nonetheless important for us to keep our heads up. There’s a lot of good happening in lots of places, and 2012 is just around the corner.
Michael Steele knows what’s up.
While this may not be a surprise to you or me, the Republican National Committee (RNC) fell a cool $4 million short of it’s $13.5 million fundraising goal for September. This is the second month in a row that the RNC has failed meet its fundraising goals. (They were $1.7 million short last month. It’s really reassuring to see that the RNC is really upping the ante!) Moreover, reports The Hill, this fundraising fail has led RNC Treasurer Randy Pullen to open a $5 million line of credit to hopefully make up for the shortfall and placate the panic:
“As Treasurer, I greatly appreciate the authorization to add $5 million. We will need it,” he wrote in the private email. “I say this because fundraising in August and September was less than planned in the revised budget you approved in August.”
Just for a little contrast, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) pulled in $16 million in September — more than 80 percent of which came from online and direct-mail donors. Needless to say, this is a strong showing just a few short weeks before the November midterms. While this is may just be an indication of the Democrat’s base finally showing up, I’d like to think it’s more a result of the Republican Party’s out of touch rhetoric and political fumbles.
Earlier this week on MSNBC, the RNC’s lackluster leader Michael Steele couldn’t even name the minimum wage. And only the week before, a former housekeeper for Meg Whitman, the Republican gubernatorial candidate in California, “alleged in a press conference with a high-profile lawyer that she was subject to financial and emotional abuse for the nine years she was employed” because she was an illegal immigrant. Of course, we can’t forget Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell who — despite her entrenched evangelical views — admitted to dabbling in witchcraft.
But hey! If this is the future of the Republican Party, I think we’re in a pretty good place. A combination of renewed Democratic enthusiasm and out-of-touch Republican rhetoric gives me hope for a happier November.
Join the College Democrats for the 4th Annual Pancake Breakfast with special guests Congressman John Dingell and Debbie Dingell THIS SATURDAY from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at Arbor Brewing Company.Â Tickets are available for purchase HERE.
For more information about the event, read the press release after the jump.Â We hope to see you there! (more…)
Last week Â New York District Judge Edward Korman ordered the FDA to allow over-the-counter access to Plan B emergency contraceptive for 17-year-olds. The pill is currently available over-the-counter for women 18 years of age and above, and can be acquired through prescription for minors.Â
Throughout the Bush administration, the FDA refused to address the issue of providing access to the drug for women under the age of 18. Republicans do not want wider access to the pill, because, as the article cites, Plan B “is a source of tension for social conservatives… who believe the pill is tantamount to abortion.” Now that the conservative Bush administration is out of office though, courts can now try to provide wider access without fears of Obama’s administration appealing the case.Â
While I’m not going to comment on women’s decision to use the pill or not, I will say that providing over-the-counter access to 17-year-olds recognizes the fact that women of that age are at the age of consent. A woman old enough to consent to sex should be old enough to grant medical consent for something that affect her sexual health. While conservatives are worried that this will increase the “danger that Plan B may be given to … sexually abused women or minors,” I feel that it has little connection. I don’t think the use of the pill or not would affect whether a woman reports sexual assault.Â
The judge told the FDA that they had 30 days to comply with his order to make Plan B available to 17-year-olds. A week is already up. We’ll see if the FDA can get over the past eight years of a conservative administration and quickly come up to speed with current Democratic policies, or if this will become an ongoing debate.
There has been long speculation that Sen Arlen Specter (R-PA) may leave the Republican party due to a likely primary challenge from the right from ultra-conservative Club for Growth President Pat Toomey (who would get destroyed in a general election). Mathmatically, it doesn’t make sense for Specter to continue as a Republican. With his vote for the stimulus package and likely vote for EFCA, the Democrats in Pennsylvania love him, but the Republicans will never give him the nomination again. And so it seemed that the only way for Specter to remain in the Senate is to leave the Republican party. (It’s important to note here that in Pennsylvania you cannot run for one party’s nomination and then, if you lose, run in the general election as an independent, a la Joe Lieberman).
This has all been speculation, until today. Earlier, Specter made some interesting comments about possibly running as an independent in 2010. The Hill reports:
He said in an interview with The Hill that the role of the Republican Party in Washington is too vital for him to switch to the Democratic side.
â€œIâ€™m staying a Republican because I think I have a more important role to play there,â€ he said. â€œI think the United States very desperately needs a two-party system. … And Iâ€™m afraid that weâ€™re becoming a one-party system, with Republicans becoming just a regional party.â€
At the same time, Specter said he is open to the possibility of running as an Independent with the understanding that he would caucus with Republicans, just as Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) did with Democrats in 2006.
Though he left that option on the table, he suggested it would be a last resort.
This position is noticeably different from before, when he wouldn’t even entertain the notion of not running as a Republican.
So, what do you all think? Should he run as a Republican, Independent, or a Democrat? Or maybe not run at all? And if he runs as an independent, with whom should he caucus?
Our belief and expectation is that we will get all the pillars in place for recovery this year. Those are the things we have control over and we have confidence that working with Congress we can get the pillars of recovery in place. How long it will take before recovery actually translates into stronger job markets and so forth is going to depend on a whole range of factors, including our ability to get other countries to coordinate and take similar actions because part of what youâ€™re seeing now is weaknesses in Europe that are actually greater than some of the weaknesses here, bouncing back and having an impact on our markets.
– President Barack Obama (to the New York Times)
Not going to lie, this pretty interesting interview with Obama the New York Times had a few days ago distracted me from the original post I was working on tonight. If you have not already read it, I encourage you to read (or listen to!) the interview now.Â The financial crisis, foreign policy, and Gitma: it’s virtually all covered. Granted, it’s not a perfect interview — the reporter, in one ridiculous question, asked President Obama if would label himself as a socialist — but it’s a nice look into our president’s current thought process.Â The transcript is a little lengthy, but it goes by quickly. Again, check it out.
The Senate approved the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act (S. 160) last Thursday, by a 61-37 vote. If the bill becomes law, it will grant the District of Columbia one voting representative in the House of Representatives and one additional representative to Utah.Â The bill is a political compromise that balances the heavily-Democratic District’s seat and with one for Republican-leaning Utah. Currently, the District of Columbia – the so-called “capital of the free world” – is denied representation in Congress.
Unfortunately, an amendment proposed by Senator John Ensign (R-NV) to weaken the District’s gun control laws was added to the legislation on the Senate floor.Â The amendment would legalize semi-automatic weapons and high-powered assault rifles in the city.Â It would overturn the District’s current gun control laws, which were enacted by the city’s democratically-elected legislature and enjoy widespread support in the city.Â Supporters of the amendment argue that citizens need guns to defend themselves in their homes.Â Semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines, however, are certainly not necessary for self-protection and legalizing them will only undercut law enforcement efforts in the District and potentially endanger the city’s residents, as well as its brave and dedicated police officers.
Thursday’s Senate vote was a significant step towards granting American citizens living in the District of Columbia the same democratic rights as citizens living elsewhere in the country.Â The House will likely take up consideration of its version of the bill sometime this week.Â It will probably pass the bill without the gun amendment, leaving open the possibility that the gun amendment could be dropped in conference committee.Â President Obama is expected to sign the legislation.
Keeping it real.
I could be a little biased when I say President Obama’s website (well, all 548922664 of them?) is one of the classiest among world leaders. Maybe Dana, Kyra, and Lindsay — and the plethora of Comm majors in Dems — can back me up, but it is really about creating a signature. Both WhiteHouse.gov and Recovery.gov are not only in the same streamlined, elegant style, they are also very accessible. It is easy to find pages and the website is easy on the eyes with good pictures and a lovely font. In comparison, check out the websites of Queen Elizabeth II, Nicolas Sarkozy (I do like the video embed!), Manmohan Singh, and finally, Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka. Not bad, but I think BO puts them in the dust.
Some of you may snicker and think, “Site aesthetics? Really, Nina? Who cares?” Still, details like these make all the difference.Â For example, think about the elderly Americans who have trouble navigating websites; a logically organized website is a clear necessity. Furthermore, such sites put a face to not only our President, but also to the country itself. It’s especially good to see Recovery.gov up and running. After all, Obama ran on accountability and transparency: this is only the first step!
This Picture is a manifestation of my anger at the moment…
So far I have tried really hard to be level-headed and understanding when it comes to all the compromises the Democratic Party is making in order to pass the Stimulus Bill. I have tried to understand that some compromises, like family planning, are necessary to get the really important stuff, job creation goodies, out onto the market as fast as possible.
I am officially done supporting this whole compromise thing. Senator Leahy’s office released a list of things being cut from the Stimulus Bill. Here are some highlights (w/ commentary):
$40 billion State Fiscal Stabilization – basically erasing the money that would help states with their crippling budget deficits. Funny that the Republicans are so in favor of “States Rights” yet they refuse help lighten their burden.
$16 billion School Construction – Have you ever visited a Detroit elementary school? These places are literally falling down around the children.
$3.5 billion Higher Ed Construction (Eliminated) – Probably not a problem for U of M. Still, Universities are some of the most prolific job creators in the state – see Ann Arbor Unemployment Rate Vs Michigan.
$2.25 Neighborhood Stabilization (Eliminate) – Once again… places like Detroit could really use a local infusion of money to turn what is now a war zone into a habitable community.
$2 billion broadband – The United States of America – hindering our own future productivity.
$1 billion Head Start/Early Start – The most effective early education program on the books, yet the first to always receive funding cuts.
$3.5 billion Federal Bldgs Greening – Sweet… we are only a few years into this who Green Technology movement and we are already cutting that dream.
Point is… President Obama got angry last week speaking to House Democrats. Maybe he should have been showing this passion from the beginning of this debate – maybe he should have been framing this debate in his terms not “The House” or “The Senate’s” bills.Â Besides all that, it is time that The Democratic Party show some ideological fortitude and stand up for what it wants from this stimulus package.
Once again, let the Republicans filibuster this package. I would love to see these spineless, morally bankrupt, geriatric, and ideologically backwards Southern Senators stand in front of the 24/7 news media reading from phone books and proclaiming themselves to be modern day Joan of Arcs. Right now “The Filibuster” is merely a game of political chicken and the Republicans think the Democrats are too chicken to call them out on it.
Play that game. What happens when Republicans filibuster? They end up looking like fools. The bill goes back to committee. Nothing changes. Call them on it.
By the way… I want to the Stimulus Bill to buy me a boat… more on that after the jump. (more…)