Az Sen. Barry Goldwater Told Nixon; Az Sen. John McCain has to tell Trump

Maybe it’s just what fate had in store for politicians from Arizona.

In 1974 a U.S. Senator from Arizona, once his party’s nominee for president, helped usher a crook out of the White House. The Arizona Senator was Barry Goldwater and the crook was President Richard Nixon.

By all accounts Nixon knew he was toast when Goldwater showed up. The senator just confirmed that for him.  24 hours later Nixon resigned.

It took years of investigations and hard reporting to deal with Nixon.

Now, 43 years later, a U.S. Senator from Arizona, once his party’s nominee for president, must usher a narcissistic psychopath out of the White House. The Arizona Senator is John McCain. The occupant is Donald Trump.
Senator McCain, you know he’s nuts. You know he is a danger to our country and the entire planet. Senator McCain, this distasteful mission is something that goes with being Arizona’s senior senator. Don’t wait too long. We can’t let him do any more damage.

Here’s a look at the damage he’s done so far:
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the DOJ’s Violence Against Women programs.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Minority Business Development Agency.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Economic Development Administration.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the International Trade Administration.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Legal Services Corporation.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the DOJ.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Electricity Deliverability and Energy Reliability.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Fossil Energy.
* On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered all regulatory powers of all federal agencies frozen.
* On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered the National Parks Service to stop using social media after RTing factual, side by side photos of the crowds for the 2009 and 2017 inaugurations.
* On January 20th, 2017, roughly 230 protestors were arrested in DC and face unprecedented felony riot charges. Among them were legal observers, journalists, and medics.
* On January 20th, 2017, a member of the International Workers of the World was shot in the stomach at an anti-fascist protest in Seattle. He remains in critical condition.
* On January 21st, 2017, DT brought a group of 40 cheerleaders to a meeting with the CIA to cheer for him during a speech that consisted almost entirely of framing himself as the victim of dishonest press while standing in front of the CIA Memorial.
* On January 21st, 2017, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a press conference largely to attack the press for accurately reporting the size of attendance at the inaugural festivities, saying that the inauguration had the largest audience of any in history, “period.”
* On January 22nd, 2017, White House advisor Kellyann Conway defended Spicer’s lies as “alternative facts” on national television news.
* On January 22nd, 2017, DT appeared to blow a kiss to director James Comey during a meeting with the FBI, and then opened his arms in a gesture of strange, paternal affection, before hugging him with a pat on the back.
* On January 23rd, 2017, DT reinstated the global gag order, which defunds international organizations that even mention abortion as a medical option.
* On January 23rd, 2017, Spicer said that the US will not tolerate China’s expansion onto islands in the South China Sea, essentially threatening war with China.
* On January 23rd, 2017, DT repeated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing him the popular vote.
* On January 23rd, 2017, it was announced that the man who shot the anti-fascist protester in Seattle was released without charges, despite turning himself in.
* On January 24th, 2017, Spicer reiterated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing DT the popular vote.
* On January 24th, 2017, DT tweeted a picture from his personal Twitter account of a photo he says depicts the crowd at his inauguration and will hang in the White House press room. The photo is curiously dated January 21st, 2017, the day AFTER the inauguration and the day of the Women’s March, the largest inauguration related protest in history.
* On January 24th, 2017, the EPA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to freeze all grants and contracts.
* On January 24th, 2017, the USDA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to stop publishing any papers or research. All communication with the press would also have to be authorized and vetted by the White House.
* On January 24th, 2017, HR7, a bill that would prohibit federal funding not only to abortion service providers, but to any insurance coverage, including Medicaid, that provides abortion coverage, went to the floor of the House for a vote.
* On January 24th, 2017, Director of the Department of Health and Human Service nominee Tom Price characterized federal guidelines on transgender equality as “absurd.”
* On January 24th, 2017, DT ordered the resumption of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, while the North Dakota state congress considers a bill that would legalize hitting and killing protestors with cars if they are on roadways.
* On January 24th, 2017, it was discovered that police officers had used confiscated cell phones to search the emails and messages of the 230 demonstrators now facing felony riot charges for protesting on January 20th, including lawyers and journalists whose email accounts contain privileged information of clients and sources.

And he’s just getting started.

Please copy this partial list and paste it into your Facebook page or email. 

(List courtesy of Josh Grossfeld)

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Forget the phone calls & email: SHOW UP!

You’re all fired up and ready to contact your congressman or legislator. So, what do you do? Make phone calls? Send email? Even take the time to send a letter?

Chances are you’ve been directed to do one of those. I hate to be the one to tell you, but those things are pretty weak. Make a phone call? Chances are your call never gets further than a secretary or intern. A summary might be sent up the mountain to the office holder.

Send an email? You’ve got to be kidding. Emails are sorted by topic and a return email … “Thank you for your comments…” is sent out.  They do not get to the office holder no matter how much time you spent crafting the exact correct message.

So, what works? Simple. Show-up. Go to their offices. Attend town hall meetings. Bring along some folks who aren’t afraid of making a little noise.

Here’s what I’m talking about.

 

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Trump’s Rise to Power: A 1930’s Reflection

Trump’s Rise to Power – Was It 1930?

His campaign brilliantly organized thousands of meetings, flying in his private jet criss-crossing the country speaking to millions with wall-to-wall TV and Cable News coverage.

America was in the grip of thTrump-Telepromptere Great Depression with a population suffering from poverty, misery, and uncertainty, amid increasing political instability.

For Trump, the master speech maker, the long awaited opportunity to let loose his talents on the American people had arrived. He would find in this downtrodden people, an audience very willing to listen. In his speeches, Trump offered the Americans what they needed most, encouragement. He gave them heaps of vague promises while avoiding the details. He used simple catchphrases, repeated over and over. He promised to “Make America Great Again.”

His campaign appearances were carefully staged events. Audiences were always kept waiting, deliberately letting the tension increase, only to be broken by solemn processions of t-shirts with slogans blaring music, and finally the appearance of Trump amid shouts of “Trump!” The effect in a closed in hall with theatrical style lighting and decorations of American flags was overwhelming and very catching.trumpcharity

Trump began each speech in low, hesitating tones, gradually raising the pitch and volume of his voice then exploding in a climax of frenzied indignation. He combined this with carefully rehearsed hand gestures for maximum effect. He skillfully played on the emotions of the audience bringing the level of excitement higher and higher until the people wound up a wide-eyed, screaming, frenzied mass that surrendered to his will and looked upon him with pseudo-religious adoration.

Trump offered something to everyone: work to the unemployed; prosperity to failed business people; profits to industry; expansion to the Army; social harmony and an end of class distinctions to idealistic young students; and restoration of American glory to those in despair. He promised to bring order amid chaos; a feeling of unity to all and the chance to belong. He would make America strong again; end payment to NATO; tear up trade agreements; stamp out corruption. And he promised to build a wall along the country’s Southern border to keep immigrants out – minorities, especially Latinos, who he blamed for everything from crime to taking American jobs.

Trump-CabinetHe appealed to all classes of Americans, but was fully embraced by the non-college educated and blue-collar workers.

All of the Trumpsters, from Trump down to the leader of the smallest city block, worked tirelessly, relentlessly, to pound their message into the minds of the Americans.

On election day November 8, 2016, Trump received millions of votes and more than the 270 electoral college votes needed to be declared President. It was a stunning victory for Trump. Overnight, the Trumpsters Party went from obscurity to control of the U.S. government.

It propelled Trump to solid national and international prestige and fear; aroused the curiosity of the world press. He was besieged with interview requests. Foreign journalists wanted to know – what did he mean – tear up the Treaties, leave NATO?

Gone was the Saturday Night Live image of Trump the laughable fanatic. The self absorbed Trump had been replaced by the skilled manipulator of the masses.

In January, dressed in their t-shirts, Trumps deputies marched in unison to the U.S. Capitol. They had no intention of cooperating with the democratic government, knowing it was to their advantage to let things get worse in America, thus increasing the appeal of Trump to an ever more miserable people.

Trumps followers dressed in civilian clothes and celebrated their electoral victory by smashing the windows of Mexican, Moslem and Jewish shops, restaurants and department stores, an indication of things to come.

Now, for the floundering American democracy, the clock was ticking and time was on Trump ‘s side.

———————————————————————————————

Simply adapted with word replacement of “Hitler” with “Trump.”
Adapted from “Germans Elect Nazis” The History Place. The rise of Adolf Hitler.   http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/riseofhitler/elect.htm

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He’s not going away. Get used to it. Take 2

(One joy of writing like this is the ability to copy what happens during every NFL game: “Upon further review…” and edit. That’s what I’e done here.)

Over a year ago I wrote that the presidential election would eventually come down to answering a simple question: “Do you dislike Hillary Clinton more than you fear Donald Trump?”

Well, we’re here now and, at the risk of violating a longstanding personal rule (Rule #1 Overconfidence can defeat you) come January, Hillary Clinton is going to become our 35th president and our first woman president.

But here’s the rub: While a majority of American’s will celebrate, millions of our fellow citizens will lose.

And even if Donald Trump disappears from television (he won’t), somewhere around 40% of America’s voters aren’t going anywhere. They’ll go back to their pre-Trump lives; home, work, family, friends and jobs. They will return to whatever their normal is all about with one big difference.

They’ll be really, really pissed-off.

So it’s going to be our responsibility to help them detox from the spiked Trump labeled KoolAid. For the sake of our country, we’ll need to help them come out from the fear and darkness of Trump’s cult. And it’s not going to be easy.

From Trump Tower or some Trump labeled golf course, the failed campaign leaders will be fighting like made to keep their people under control. They’ll make Senator Mitch McConnell’s 2008 election night pledge to “Make Barack Obama a one term president” seem quaint. They’ve already started pushing their supporter’s “dislike” of soon to be President Hillary Clinton into explosive and sometimes violent “hatred.”

Trump’s speeches are laying the groundwork for it. He’s getting his supporters primed to explain his embarrassing loss as the result of a nationwide Clinton-directed conspiracy to “rig” the election against him. After all, he’s Donald Trump. The “winner.”  He can’t just “lose.”

You can see the early signs of a Trump ”enemies list” taking shape: media figures, Republican officeholders identified as “traitors,” political operatives, opposition pundits and melting pot Americans: Blacks, Hispanics, Latinos, Asians, LGBTQ Americans…and Jews; they always get around to Jews.

I wish I knew what to do about the harm that Donald Trump and his buddies are doing to our country. But I don’t.

 What do we do when 40% of our fellow citizens believe this election is “rigged,” that every unflattering fact about Trump is just a “lie” and the news media is part of that  “conspiracy” to prevent him from winning? What do we do when entire segments of our society are vilified and blamed for all of our problems?

I don’t know how to answer those questions, but I believe finding one starts with opening our eyes so we can see that none of this is new. You can see validation with any American minority population past and current. We’ve had ongoing outbursts of anger and hate before in the United States but nothing of this magnitude.

But the world has. And still does in

It is too easy to invoke the names of  dangerous, delusional and evil men who, rightly so, should never be tossed about carelessly. But I believe we are seeing the European history of the 1930’s, that those men created, being repeated here in 21st century America.


Author Naomi Wolf has much more in-depth thoughts along these lines that pre-date Trump and the current situation.

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“Trump” isn’t the problem anymore…

Donald Trump, in my opinion, is no longer the problem.

He remains narcissistic, of course, and may have a personality disorder as so many Beltway folks believe.

But now is not the time to get all worked up over whether he’s saying he has “regrets” instead of putting on his big-boy pants and apologizing. We have much bigger problems to contend with. Trump can no longer be relied upon to shoot his mouth off and push more and more voters away from.

And you don’t have to be a CableTV talking head to figure this one out. 

Just look at Trump’s new “optics:” 

They’re staging meetings that mimic what presidential Cabinet  meetings look like on TV. Huge conference table. White guys in suits sitting there focused on Trump who is in the “power position” middle of the table. He’s framed by a backdrop of the campaign’s “Trump/Pence” sign and flags on either side.Trump-Cabinet

They’re now introducing variations based on what race/ethnicity the participants are. A recent “meeting” on Hispanics had Mr. Trump surrounded by Latinos. Another featured Black men. They may eventually get around to a group of Women, but I’d bet we’ll see guys in “uniforms” before that. Military uniforms would be best to help fight off fear about Trump’s tiny fingers so close to setting off a nuclear war, but cops would work too. 

Trump-TeleprompterThey’ve got him reading lines off a “teleprompter,” his new handler’s way of letting him say as much craziness as he likes, but with wordsmithing done by political pros who know how to make that stuff sound well, “crazy.” It will even  sound intelligent, reasonable to nearly half (but, please God, not one vote more) of our fellow citizens.

Someone over at “Trump Tower” was smart enough grab hold of the Louisiana tragedy, stick Trump on his plane and boogey on down to get photo and video of him being “presidentially empathic.” Or at least as much as he’s capable of acting, while giving some cash to the recovery effort. But someone over there took those conventional  “optics” one better by sending  a semi-truck filled with stuff flood victims would need and Trump personally handing things over to them.Trump-Louis

This stuff has fingerprints all over it. And they don’t belong to the newest campaign manager Kellyanne Conway. Don’t get me wrong, she’s good, very good. But not this good. This good requires a “producer.”

Like the man who most recently turned “news” into part entertainment, part glitz and a few facts mixed together topped with a right-wing slant nearly propaganda. And they called it FOX.

Roger Ailes, as luck would have it, was suddenly available to Trump as a unpaid “adviser.” I suspect that the women over at FOX who outed the ‘ole lecher for his years of sexual harassment weren’t counting on him walking out the door with millions of dollars and a direct line to a presidential candidate.

To be fair, some might argue that it’s Trump’s other “Roger,” Roger Stone who’s crafting this stuff. But this material has too much finesse for Stone. He’s a sneaky S.O.B. who’s handywork  is littered across years of politics. But compared to Ailes, Stone is just a few steps above college pranksters.

But anyone who is paying attention knows that the “big brain” behind all of this is Breitbart News chief Steve Bannon. He’s who replaced Paul Manafort who has been busy trying to do personal damage control since being outed as a PR hack for the Russians.

Bannon is the man behind the “Trump ideology.” To get a much more complete understanding of Bannon than I can provide right now, just Google him. As you read about him keep this in mind: This is the man who is tube feeding the Republican Party Nominee for President of the United States Donald J. Trump. And when you start thinking this can’t be happening, it is.

 

Posted on by Bob Grossfeld | Comments Off on “Trump” isn’t the problem anymore…

Comparing Clinton and Trump

Early in the campaign year I said that, in my opinion, the choice would eventually come down to a simple one that each of us must make:

“Do I dislike Hillary Clinton more than I’m afraid of Donald Trump?”

But as it turns out, that was a “false equivalency.

Yes, a whole lot of people don’t like Hillary Clinton. And when you boil down all the reasons they can be fairly classified as “serious.”  Even very “serious.”

But Donald Trump is in a class of his own, unprecedented in our history. Sure, we’ve had assholes running for president before this. There’s been no shortage of narcissism either. And I was perfectly happy with that comparison between the two.

But that’s not what we’re dealing with. This guy is dangerous because he doesn’t have a clue about what it means for the President of the United States having control of this country’s nuclear arsenal.

Trump, at age 70, is only 3 years older than I am. So I am absolutely sure that he was in school during the Cold War when we weren’t practicing “fire drills.” They were teaching us what to do if the President of the United States responded to a real nuclear war attack.

The “President.” And the only thing standing between Trump and the White House is us.

In my opinion, that’s the real choice we have to make. And nothing real or imagined that Hillary Clinton has done, even comes close to that.

So, I might not like Hillary Clinton’s finger on a computer keyboard. But I am absolutely terrified of Donald Trump carrying the nuclear codes in his pocket.

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Donald Trump and News?

Today’s ( June 8, 2016) Editorial page of the Arizona Republic nearly made me cry. One after another, editorial writers whose opinions I trust defended the media’s culpability in the creation of Donald Trump. If I can summarize their responses, it seemed to come down to the addict’s plea that they “couldn’t help themselves.”
Trump was “news.” Why? Because he was a car crash or burning house or even, in Arizona only, rain.
Some suggested they couldn’t help themselves because Trump was something “unique” in recent American politics in his ability to manipulate the media. Really? In all fairness, that may just suggest the addiction has been made worse by “reality TV,” in which there is nothing real at all. Or, more probably, a definition of “news” that has morphed out of control as “journalism” has been all but devoured by “business.”
There was a time, not all that long ago, when “news is what I say it is,” was the mantra of professional journalists who took their First Amendment “freedom of the press” responsibilities seriously. Sure, politicians and others whose feet were held to the fire or exposed for who and what they really were, screamed bloody murder. But journalists were backed up by their editors and publishers. The Washington Post’s refusal to collapse under pressure from the Nixon White House is a nice, recent example.
But the core problem now isn’t that journalists are being pressured, its that they have succumbed to pressure that defines news as “what makes money.”
This has been coming for a long time and those now in the profession might be excused for simply not putting the pieces together that stretch back a couple of generations before their time,  but for which there is plenty of documentation — even popular films.
Senator Joesph McCarthy comes to mind given his Trumpian ability to manipulate the press into the communist scare that even infected newsrooms and saw journalists chewed up by the witch-hunts. Famously, he was taken on, and taken apart, by Edward R. Murrow and his team at CBS news.
In more recent times, the Trump prototype was former Alabama Governor, and chief bigot of his time, George Wallace. Wallace is the Southern governor who made a national name for himself by defending segregation and the so-called seperate-but-equal slogan bigots had adopted when federal civil rights law was being enforced.
The New York Times carried a recent OpEd by Dan T. Carter a professor emeritus of history at the University of South Carolina. He makes the connection between the manipulation of the media by Wallace and Donald Trump crystal clear. When Trump pounds away with his slogan, “Make America Great Again,” it might make for good journalism to find out what the “again” piece really means before its too late.
Trump is reportedly coming to Phoenix next week. Unless something changes, quickly, news consumers will get another helping of car wrecks and burning houses. Unless it rains.
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Attention Comedy Central: Here’s another one.

You’ve seen them before; Comedy Central stories with the “Arizona” dateline. Sometimes I think the network should be paying us for so regularly supplying prepackaged material for their staff writers. I mean, where else could they have found “Creationist” Rep. Sylvia Allen and her belief that the Earth is 6,000 years old…and now bring her back as the Chair of the Senate Education Committee?

While it is still early in the legislature’s season, they’re brewing up another one down at the Capitol: HB 2024.

It is not as clearly goofy as Ms. Allen’s material, but given the increasing antics of self-described “patriots,” it is timely. This one has to do with HB 2024 and it’s creartor Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley.

Basically, HB 2024 would provide ample opportunities for the State of Arizona to cut off ties with the federal government. So take that Texas!

But I digress and I want to provide some genuine assistance to Mr. Finchem.

First off, I believe that Mr. Finchem may have been misled on a number of matters that he suggests ought to be remedied by his proposed HB 2024. https://goo.gl/OP9nGi

If enacted, his legislation would put the brakes on any Arizona government spending to implement any presidential “executive order” until approved by Congress and found to be “constitutional.”

Now, to be fair to Mr. Finchem, his legislation is not limited to presidential executive orders. He also wants to protect us from the evils of “policy directives issued” by federal agencies. And as they say, “But wait! There’s more!” HB 2024 would also apply to the United States Supreme Court.

For those who are fans of “circular logic,” as with “orders” and “directives,” HB 2024 requires Supreme Court rulings be determined as being “IN PURSUANCE OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.” That suggests Mr. Finchem envisions a Supreme Court that issues its rulings, adjourns and then reconvenes for the purpose of determining whether what they just did was constitutional or not, don’t you think?

A review of Mr. Finchem’s proposal suggests that his view of presidential “executive orders” in particular seems to have been shaped more by talking points than facts. He might be better informed by a quick Google search of “presidential executive orders,”  the first of which was issued by President George Washington. Washington ordered the “federal prosecution” of any citizen who was caught interfering with the war between England and France.

(By the way, given that the framers of the Constitution were still around and, we can safely assume, keeping a close eye on the government they just created, General Washington’s “executive order” was pretty much fine with them.)

The Google search would show him that most of the nearly 50,000 presidential orders tallied since the Nation’s founding are relatively mundane items dealing with the composition of committees, commissions and so forth with some clarifications of the administrative rulebook on how laws are enforced, while Congress deals with what the laws are. Mr. Finchem might be more informed on this by looking up President Obama’s recent order regarding guns in the Federal Register https://goo.gl/UXKC5W . If he needs help navigating the Register, they’ve produced a handy dandy video https://goo.gl/X2N3IZ

All of that levity aside, HB 2024 would also apply to significant matters that have helped to form the bedrock of the United States. I’m sure it was an oversight, but perhaps he could be persuaded to amend his proposed legislation to exempt some “executive orders.” The “Emancipation Proclamation”  issued by President Abraham Lincoln ending slavery comes to mind.  (http://goo.gl/Ejr6F). They’ve even done a film about this: https://goo.gl/BKzDsC

But that’s not the end of it.

What should cause universal concern about HB2024, is that Mr. Finchem proposes the State of Arizona turn back the clock to 1803 before the Supreme Court decided Marbury v. Madison, the case establishing the Court as the body that decides what is or is not “constitutional.”

Because in Mr. Finchem’s HB2024 world, Supreme Court rulings would then be treated as little more than ‘suggestions,’ thereby incurring the expense of changing all middle school textbooks to delete references to “three coequal branches of government.”

So keep an eye on HB 2024 and Mr. Finchem. This one has “Comedy Central” possibilities.

Posted in Politics | Comments Off on Attention Comedy Central: Here’s another one.

The “Wave” and Now What?

Okay. Enough whining and rationalization.

Republicans, both nationally and locally, began their march toward the 2014 “wave” 6 years ago when U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said their number one goal was making “Obama a one term president.”

Everything else they’ve done flowed from that pronouncement and was designed to make President Obama and Democrats look bad, no matter their successes.

And it worked.

Fixing the “Republican Recession” courtesy of George Bush the Second? It wasn’t good enough or fast enough.

Saving America’s auto industry and thousands of jobs? A government “bail-out.”

Doing for the health care of Americans what every president since Harry Truman, including Nixon, Reagan and Bush the First, had been trying to get accomplished: Universal access to health care and the elimination of some of the insurance industries more distasteful practices: “Obamacare,” “death panels,’ loss of one’s physician, you name it.

The government shutdown? It was Obama’s fault.

All of that and more: Obama isn’t a citizen, a Christian or, God save America, he’s a Black man.

The list is nearly endless, but the direction was always the same: Using an arsenal of tactics to support the, “one term president” strategy.

In sum, they couldn’t spew out distortions and outright lies fast enough in order to feed Fox news which, in turn, wove the day’s Republican talking points into “news,” for the consumption of Republicans whether calling themselves Conservatives or Tea Partiers.

In Arizona, filled with Republicans ready to accept such nonsense, the “wave” created by McConnell and crew, wiped out nearly every candidate save a few of our targeted members of Congress who had the resources and savvy to fight back.

The Arizona result: a newly minted Republican governor who made it through two elections as an “empty suit,” state school superintendent who dislikes education, secretary of state — the top election official, who led legislative efforts to suppress minority voting and a legislative majority prepared to continue regular appearances on “The Daily Show” for the next two to four years.

Democrats, both elected and those individuals and groups within the Party apparatus have played defense. And not very well.

At virtually every turn Democrats were caught up in the Republican political traps struggling to find a way out, only to become more entangled with hooks in their mouths.

We railed against the Koke brothers. We outed Tea Party Republicans and their new leader, Senator Ted Cruz.  Day after day, Democrats swung back like tennis players trying to win against a practice machine that kept firing balls across the net while we stumbled running back and forth trying to hit one back.

McConnell’s grand strategy was a huge success except for one tiny little problem: It failed to make the President a one-termer. But there was enormous collateral damage as millions of American’s, caught up in the GOP frenzy, had bought the anti-Obama, anti-Democrat, anti-government narrative.

All of this was not strong enough to offset the Democrat’s voter turnout and subsequent election of Barack Obama to a second term, while maintaining control of the U.S. Senate and watching the U.S. House turn into home base for Republicans who seemed to have been awakened from a frozen sleep induced sometime during the 19th century.

None of that derailed the McConnell plan. It was just fine-tuned and funded for 2014.

Republicans spent about a day licking their wounds after losing ground during the presidential election year. Then they got back to work, setting aside the “one term” president target in favor of just taking control of virtually the entire country.

Which they have.

Meanwhile, Democrats continued living in a dream world that, supported by the political infrastructure of pollsters, media consultants, strategists and party operatives, promised a return to power that was doomed to fail as their offensive squad only rarely made it on to the field.

The exceptions, foremost among them U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, detailed a strategy that, party labels aside, was exactly what Americans were looking for: Progressive Populism with a concrete plan to fix the economic imbalance between the rich and the rest of us.

Unions would get a fair set of rules to govern how they and corporations would coexist and the FCC would revisit the need for a return to the Fairness Doctrine so that radio, TV and Cable channels were required to present competing sides of issues.

Net neutrality would become the law of the land.

They talked about reining in Wall Street and prosecuting corporate leaders for devastating the country’s economy, stepping in to save a generation of young people from student loans that totaled in the trillions of dollars making credit card debt look minor.

They supported health care reform that eliminated insurance companies from the equation thereby freeing up billions of dollars in profits that would be used to make health care truly universal.

They exposed the American war machine that worked against peace to keep their profits flowing. And they called for campaign finance reform with teeth to stop the billionaires from purchasing the United States at bargain-basement prices.

So when it came to gearing up for the 2014 mid term elections, Democratic candidates embraced Progressive Populism as the best way forward and won back everything they had lost over the past several years.

Yeah, right.

It didn’t happen, of course. Democratic candidates ran away from the President and his record and offered up little more than what has been called “Republican Lite” as their solution to the country’s problems.

At least one Democrat running for the U.S. Senate even refused to say publicly whether she had voted for the President, while others didn’t want him to visit their states, even those that helped carry him into a second term.

——————————

In Arizona, Democrats were hindered by a number of factors that deserve attention. In years past they might have tried to recover from the “wave”by making repairs to the roof. But this year’s results call for tearing down the house and starting over again.

This does not mean much effort needs to be put into deciding who is to “blame.” That’s pretty much a waste of time. What should be done, must be done, is review what happened and hold people and groups  accountable for what they did or did not do.

And that process should be started now before memories start to fade, documents are lost and people disappear.

Think of this as an audit to determine what worked and what did not work — “work” being defined as getting candidates elected.

To be sure, no process is perfect, but after years of licking wounds and going on vacation, any serious decision to make critical decisions designed to win elected offices should not be delayed.

Without jumping the gun, one decision that ought to be at the top of the list is, to borrow a phrase, “Make Doug Ducey a one-term governor.”

More to come…

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Republicans and Sex; Democrats and Money

Dear Friends,

I was meeting with some friends the other day and, as is becoming more commonplace for me, one of them proclaimed that he was not going to vote because “there’s no difference between the parties. They’re all the same.”

In the past, I must confess, I would have challenged him citing all sorts of good deeds attributable to Democrats; and misdeeds put at the feet of the Republicans. All of them, mind you, directly out of the campaign headlines, talking points, brochures and TV spots — I feel somewhat responsible for my part of that last category. But I digress.

Instead of challenging, I started thinking to myself that he might be correct — there are ingredients the two parties share. Currently one of those is the extraordinary ability to discuss anything and wind up doing nothing — or little enough.

But even D’s and R’s will cop to that one these days.

So I was convinced that there must be something deeper; something that really defines the differences in a way that reaches a fundamental core from which many, if not most decisions and positions flow.

I looked back over more than 40 years of hanging around politics and politicians when it finally occurred to me that the underlying issue may be both sociological and psychological, not political.

Which is how I arrived at Grossfeld’s Theory of Political Difference.

Basically, it goes this way:

Democrats are comfortable with sex, but obsess about money. By contrast, Republicans are comfortable with money, but obsess about sex.

Just let your mind hang with the theory for a bit and I suspect you’ll find  instances in your own experience that support the theory.

For me, I look at all of the GOP obsession with regulation of  private sexual behavior — or even thinking or writing about it. Whether its how Gay couples go about the business of their own sexuality or, more recently, trying to regulate sex via eliminating contraceptives, an inordinate amount of Republican time is filled with sex talk. Money, on the other hand, gets little attention other than their routine efforts to enrich the already wealthy and reward those who have climbed fairly high on the economic food chain. The “job creators” is how they sometimes describe it.

By the way, that whole “job creators” thing betrays a basic misunderstanding of how our economy works and what the “free enterprise” system really looks like. Without going into a very boring recitation of why “trickle down” economics is just foolish, let’s focus on how things really work. First, the only way to create more jobs is through increased demand for products and services. Free enterprise, right?

That’s where the Republicans go off the rails and spew this nonsense about how those at the top create jobs. Not so. When jobs are created it is because there are people out there with enough cash to buy things they need. Too few people with cash in their pockets, no jobs being created.  And that’s what has been happening in the country: a growing number of people who do not have enough money to buy things. In economic-speak that means “demand” is low.

Now, to be clear, that does not mean folks don’t want to buy that new car, they do, but their household income is stretched to the max just paying the bills of everyday life. So, what’s a country to do? Well, the answer is to get more cash in the hands of those real job creators so that they can afford to buy the new car. When that happens the car people start selling more cars and hiring people to build the cars in order to meet the increased demand.

Democrats, by comparison, are relatively comfortable with sex and have no issues including groups that have some sexual component in their multi-layered coalition. From the LGBT community to Pro-Choice, Democrats by and large don’t have a problem with how people decide to live out their sexual lives. And they fiercely oppose Republican efforts to invade America’s bedrooms.

On the other hand, Democrats fret about money. A lot. Having rejected “trickle down” economics for an actual free enterprise model of how things work, Democrats devote their time to trying to get more cash into the hands of the middle class, or what’s left of it, and poor people because they will spend the cash and that gets more money into circulation. That gets the economy growing again so that demand increases and jobs are created to help companies fill the demand. By contrast, Republicans keep trying to push money to the wealthiest Americans who alread have enough cash to live on so they will tend to stash the cash away some place. And that prevents the money from getting into circulation so that jobs can be created.

At a minimum, Democrats, are focused on maintaining the so-called “safety net” that keeps millions of Americans spending, Social Security being the best single example. But its more than that. Democrats argue, correctly, that when the “market” is not generating enough funded demand, it is the government’s obligation to step in and jump start the economy.

I am constantly impressed with how stupid opponents of “government” are when it comes to spending tax dollars in order to boost he economy. (Of course they managed to gulp down government bail outs of the major financial institutions which then took the government money and sat on it instead of making loans to help get cash into circulation.) My favorite is when Republicans oppose “wasteful government spending” on things like public works projects. The reality is that “government” isn’t out there building roads, bridges, or buildings; all of those things are being built by private sector companies that have won projects based on their bids: competition at its best.Think about that the next time you’re driving past a construction project and see those “your tax dollars at work” signs. Thats what government can and should do to help get things moving again. But on a much larger scale.

What is missed during the Republican and Democratic bickering, I believe, are Democrats and other progressives are not holding up their end of the debate. And, to some extent, it makes sense: Sex sells and basic economics does not.

At least it hasn’t until Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren stepped onto the national scene. Sanders, an independent screams bloody murder about our upside down economy with fierce determination. Warren, relatively new to the game, has become the person that most progressives wish could or would run for president. Her calm, simple explanation of how things really work has become a rallying point when others are still bullshitting.

As I’ve said before, Hillary Clinton may have my head, but Elizabeth Warren has my heart.

So, after this long meandering diatribe, I submit to you, dear reader, that the more Republicans busy themselves with their sex obsession, the more opportunity there is for the progressive side to capture the “jobs” flag. While “sex” does sell, just ask the advertising folks making millions selling fast cars or perfume, folks still need cash in their pockets to make the purchases.

 

 

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