Posts Tagged Tea Party

Independents and First Time Voters

The 2012 Presidential Race and the races for the House and Senate are likely to shape the United States long into the future.  With important decisions about the budget and about a host of other serious issues, the time for action has come.  We The People are very aware of the gridlock caused by Republicans.  This gridlock  threatens the unemployed, the elderly, the needy and the poor.  These groups cannot seriously view the Republicans as their saviours.  Democrats believe in pro-active reform but also believ in responsible and balanced change.

In response to the financial crisis that was caused by the unregulated and permissive policies of the Republicans and GW Bush, We The People demand change. If we permit the irresponsible Republicans to have their way yet again, we will have no one to blame except ourselves.  If Republicans win the House and the Senate, our children and grandchildren will be paying for our irresponsible voting for most of their lives.

If you were once in the middle class or if you are in need of a job, do you seriously believe that the Republicans have your best interests at heart.  Remember this is the party of We The Few.  Do you believe that the Tea Party and other Republicans have rendered the federal government defenseless?  If so, help us get out the vote.

While the Democratic platform  is clearly the last stop-gap from further destruction of the middle class, the elderly and ravaging the poor, the Republicans are armed to the teeth.  Due to the severity of multiple issues inherited by President Obama from his predecessor,  jobs are hard to find.  Personal income is down.  Foreclosures are an everyday occurrence.

However, the reality is that Republicans are quick to attack the President but they are very slow to offer solutions.  In all the Republican Debates, the only person that took a definite stand was Herman Cain with his 9-9-9  flat tax plan.  Not one other candidate has taken a position about a new jobs program.

There are many reasons to be concerned about the 2012 elections.  Consider that since the 2008 elections more than 2.5 million voters have left the Democratic and Republican Parties in favor of declaring as an Independent.  This pattern is most evident in states that compose the 8 swing states.  In these states, USA Today reports that 800,000 voters have left the Democratic Party and 350,000 have left the Republican Party.  Voters that now identify themselves as Independents have increased by 325,000.  Since the last Presidential Election, there are 1.7 million less Democrats.  The total number of Independents has increased by 1.7 percent (400,000) since 2008.

Swing states that register by party are:

  1. Colorado
  2. Florida
  3. Iowa
  4. Nevada
  5. New Hampshire
  6. New Mexico
  7. North Carolina
  8. Pennsylvania

The states with the biggest increases in Independents are Colorado, Florida, North Carolina and Arizona.  The fate of the next President, the 2013 House and the 2013 Senate may well rest on how Independents vote.

With 42 million national registrants, Democrats still dominate Republicans with 24 million registrants.

Another much sought after faction of voters is the Latino Vote.  It is expected that if Mitt Romney is the Republican candidate, he will select Marco Rubio of Florida to increase his share of Latino voters.  Latinos are not happy with President Obama’s increased rate of deportation.  However, based on Romney’s much declared conservative policy, Latinos had best beware of the consequences of a Republican President.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, a poll between November 9th and December 7th, Latinos still overwhelmingly support President Obama

Another area of concern is the high quantity of  first-time voters expected to voters in 2012.  While it is true that senior voters vote for policies that have a direct impact on them, first-time voters are likely to vote for the platform that offers jobs, educational assistance and educational excellence.  First-time voters vote according to differences in policies in these areas.  With new voter restrictions being imposed on first-time voters, the poor and Latinos, it is imperative that Democrats develop on-the-ground recruitment strategies.

The dangerous and disruptive Tea Party has the resources and a well-organized grass-roots campaign that is experienced in door-to-door recruitment.  This group poses a serious threat to the President and Congress.

Because Independents have strong ideological postures, they gravitate to platforms that meet their expectations of the role of government, the environment, social issues and immigration.  Independents are more flexible and do not want to be liberal or conservative.  According to the Pew Study, there is growing rejection of political ideology but that should not be interpreted as a shift toward moderation.  Independents will vote in 2012 and they may well determine the Presidential election and where the power in Congress will lie.

For example, in 2008 Independents gave President an eight point edge.  In 2010, Republicans won the House with a 19 point Independent majority.  Independents are difficult to read.  It is possible that they will listen closely to House, Senate and Presidential debates before finalizing their votes.  It is probable that Independents will not vote along a party line.  Rather, they will vote for the candidate that rings their chime.

The challenge for Democrats will be to assist voters register and to get out the vote.  Several polls show that voters hold Republicans accountable for the gridlock in Washington.  It is no coincidence that as the approval rating of Congress deteriorates, the support for President Obama increases.

Regardless of how public opinion views the Tea Party, these activists will be charged up in 2012.  The Tea Party may be the only group of activists who is pleased with the way government is running.  That is a message the Democrats need to carry to Independents and first-time voters.

, , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Government For The People Is Lost

At a time when Americans desperately needed government for the people and by the people, the 2011 Congress failed to deliver on any substantive legislation.  No tax reform, no jobs programs and no ethics.  Washington ended the year on legislation that typified the self-interests of the Republican Party.  Rather than government for We The People, Republicans worked feverishly to appease the lobbyists of We The Few.  The end of year disagreements even had Republicans fighting and sniping at each other to the media.  This is the chaos that Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader in the Senate Mitch McConnell are using to undermine President Obama.

The problem for Boehner and McConnell is that in further hurting their party’s image, the Republicans boosted the President’s approval rating.

The Republican Party looks to be crumbling at the seams.  When Americans go to the polls, please remember the 2011 Congress.  If there was ever a stronger case for a Democratic controlled House, Senate and Presidency, the Republicans and Grover Norquist have provided We The People with a clear-cut choice.  Will it be Government for We The People or will it be government for We The Few.

We The People should realize that the Republican Party only has the interests of We The Few in mind.  We The People must get engaged and stay that way through the 2012 elections. Do not rest until Democrats control the House, the Senate and the Presidency.  

If the 2011 Congress were analyzed like a Dow Jones equity, the chart would show a steady but rapid decline.  In the eyes of the public, there were no spikes upwards.  Congress had to work hard to achieve a 10% approval rating.  According to a Gallup Poll, only 32% of Americans thought Congressmen were ethical and honest.

The only thing Republicans were able to agree upon was their desire to unseat the President.  They showed a willingness to throw We The People under the bus in their quest.   Republicans presented obstacle after obstacle to damage the economy and make We The People suffer more so that a Republican would replace Obama in 2012.  Yet, every time a Republican debate took place, the President’s stock increased.  The Republican candidates for Presidency were as dysfunctional as the party itself.

Since taking office in 2009, the President has faced many challenges.  Unfortunately, he underestimated the severity of the economic times. Perhaps, he was not sure how to react to the crisis that swept the country.  When he had a majority in both Houses of Congress, he used his political capital to pass Obamacare, a top component on his platform.

His vision for medical insurance for the nation was a strong campaign promise.  The timing for this initiative was bad.  Rather than focus on employment programs that might have boosted and economy and improved the nation’s infrastructure, Obama turned to his health program.

No President in the last sixty years inherited such a mess.  George W. Bush and his Republican cronies left the country with two unfunded wars, a rapidly increasing budget deficit and a financial and housing crisis created by the lack of regulation, a Republican mandate.  Bush’s response to the global crisis was to pour taxpayer money into the banking sector.  He extended the Bush tax cuts at exactly the time these cuts should have been allowed to expire.  However, the Bush Tax Cuts favored We The Few, another Republican mainstay.

Republicans framed the Bush Tax Cuts as the savior of the middle class.  According to the Bush – Cheney team, the cuts were a good thing.  The beneficiaries of these relaxed taxes would enable We The Few to become aggressive “job creators.”

The jobs never came as millionaires and billionaires pocketed the money Bush, Boehner and McConnell said would be invested in American jobs.

After stabilizing the banking sector, credit markets remained entwined in a web of failing mortgages, high unemployment, diminishing GDP and a housing crisis that the country had never-before experienced.  Sadly, the Republicans and Bush perpetuated the housing crisis by nationalizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the largest holders of bad debt mortgages in the nation.  This means that We The People are paying for the flawed lending practices that profited Wall Street. Adding the weight of these failing mortgages to the taxpayer’s damaged 401(k’s) and other retirement funds was simply too big a cargo.

Republican programs for We The Few destroyed middle America’s safety net, the equity in their homes.

Meanwhile, the very banks that perpetuated the housing crisis began to record huge profits.  Equally disturbing were the phenomenal size of bonuses these corporations paid to the very bankers who caused the recession.  In a dormant state of non-growth in GDP, financial institutions and local governments began to lay off millions of Americans.

Amazingly, not one of these corrupt bankers was imprisoned.  In fact, these bankers were living the high life as the middle class continued to pay the price for the lavish wages paid to unscrupulous people.  This was not capitalism.  This was malicious greed with volumes of moral hazard and amble doses of betrayal.

What began to evolve from this predicament was a caste system never-before experienced in the U.S.  The distance between We The People and We The Few has never been as wide as it is now.  Moreover, the widening trend continues.

To make sure this deep divide stayed that way, Grover Norquist pressed Republican politicians on all levels of government to abide by the Norquist pledge that there would be no tax increases in any new legislation.   Most of the Republicans that signed this pledge did not indicate their intent to do so prior to taking office.  This dilemma left constituencies questioning their choices.

In the 2010 elections, an activist group called the Tea Party ousted Democrats in the House giving Republicans a majority.  The Democrats retained a narrow majority in the Senate.  Without 60 votes, Democrats fell prey to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s call for filibuster.  In fact, the Senate was neutered.

The effect of the Tea Party and the pledge by The Speaker of the House and the Minority Speaker in the Senate to limit President Obama to one term at all costs created strategic gridlock meant to damage the President’s credibility.  Republicans used their newfound power to show their disdain for the middle class, the unemployed and the needy in 2010.

With 7 million unemployed Americans needing an extension of the unemployment benefits, Republicans vowed to allow the benefits to expire beginning in 2010.  However, if the President would extend the Bush Tax Cuts for We The Few, Republicans would extend the unemployment benefits for We The People.  This was a bitter pill for the President, but he swallowed and saved the benefits for middle America.  The Bush Tax Cuts are set to expire at the end of 2012.

From the passage of those two programs, Congress became irreparably broken.  Republicans viewed the President as soft.  They saw an opening and struck. Republicans realized that Obama was for We The People.  Republicans used the President’s commitment to We The People as his Achilles Heel.  Anytime they wanted legislation, Republicans would hold We The People  hostage.

The Republican willingness to hold We The Peope hostage has been the only consistent theme of this Congress.

Speaker of The House, John Boehner, welcomed a large freshman class in January 2011.  Boehner vowed great things in 2011.  What the seasoned Boehner did not understand was that the Tea Party did not like his politics or Bush or Obama. Under the guise of financial credibility, the Tea Party was poised to assault the middle class and prevent passage of any legislation about jobs.

We the People
Creative Commons License photo credit: Sam Gordon Photography

In April 2011, the Congress and the President locked horns over spending.  Republicans favored deep cuts to education, Medicare, Medicade and an overhaul of the Social Services benefit system.  Planned parenthood and the right to abortions also came into play.  This time, Republicans broadened their sights.  They used the leverage of a government shut-down to gain a $38 billion reduction in spending.

Voters watched these events unfold and became uncomfortable with the rhetoric and the dysfunction in Washington.

The bitter divide in Congress gained traction during the subsequent Debt Ceiling talks.  The President wanted a sweeping, balanced effort to dramatically trim the fat off the budget.  Republicans favored spending reductions without any tax increases.  This debate reached ugly in a heartbeat.  It was apparent that the far right-wing of the Republican caucus intimidated the less conservative Republicans.

The Tea Party had control of the party and Boehner was rendered useless. As 2011 winds down, Boehner will be remembered as the most ineffective leader of the most ineffective House in the history of the nation.  During the debt ceiling crisis, Boehner’s role as tightrope artist played out in full view of the public.

Political Cartoon From the Rapid City (SD) Journal:  Republican Greed
Creative Commons License photo credit: JoeInSouthernCA

During the crisis, Boehner met with President Obama and crafted a $4.2 trillion deficit reduction package.  The President and Boehner agreed to a package that the country needed to stave off a credit reduction.  However, when Boehner presented the plan to his caucus it was rejected.

In their deficit reduction package, there would be increased revenue generated by a small increase in taxes to millionaires and billionaires.  All the Republicans who signed the Norquist pledge were put on the spot to either pass legislation with some increased taxes that would benefit the country or honor their Norquist pledge.

Boehner failed to rally his caucus around this powerful deficit reduction initiative.  The country was poised to show the world that the USA stood ready to tackle its debt in a responsible manner.  When Boehner refused to accept calls from the President, it was clear that he had no control over House Republicans.

The net effect of this debt ceiling fight was that for the first time in the history of the Republic the USA lost its treasured AAA credit rating; an event Republicans considered minor. 

Congress pushed the American public to the limits when several high-profile Republicans indicated that they were willing to default on our national debt. The public’s ire over this irresponsible mindset began to surface.  Boehner became a tainted leader of a tainted majority.  Rumors of a change in leadership in the House started to circulate.  The Tea Party’s, Eric Cantor, was often mentioned as a replacement for Boehner.

Boehner’s embarrassing inability to get his caucus to accept his own spending plan, not only stunned Americans but triggered red flag warnings around the globe.  On paper, a 10-year $917 billion spending cut was passed. The parties agreed to another $1.2 trillion in cuts which would be decided by a Super Committee before the 1st of December.  In the event of an inability to agree on cuts, provisions were implemented to trim $1.2 trillion in spending cuts without further approval.  The majority of these fixed cuts were in defense.

Another effect of the failed debt ceiling package was that the country’s credit was lowered by Standard & Poor’s.

To the country, it was now perfectly clear that Washington was in chaos. A familiar pattern had evolved. All legislation was only dealt with in the final hours.  Every significant legislative initiative was flawed. Most were temporary band aids.  The citizenry was appalled by the continued cross-party assaults.

As Congress was coming apart at the seams, the President took to the road.  He took his We The People vision to communities across the country.  His message began to resonate.

During the Summer, Republicans opposed labor rights for a relatively small group of air service providers.  Opposition to labor rights was part of the Tea Party mantra.  In this argument, Congress caused a partial shutdown of Federal Aviation Services.

Newly elected Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, a Tea Party member was busy denying state employees their rights to collective bargaining. Walker is now facing a recall. In Wisconsin, Republicans can expect a big backlash from Walker’s actions.

Republicans refused to give the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) additional funds to assist communities suffering from flooding and damage from hurricanes.  When FEMA announced the agency had enough funding to get to the beginning of the new fiscal year, last-minute temporary funding was approved while politicians agreed to settle their differences in upcoming months.

Again, the pattern of last-minute negotiations and temporary band aids reared its ugly head. Americans were uncomfortable with this method of government. 

When the Congressional super-committee was unable to find common ground on a deficit reduction plan, the dysfunction in Congress caused unified disdain.  Again, there was a flurry of last-minute negotiations but this time there were no results.  Therefore, the already agreed-upon cuts including significant cuts to military spending were imposed.  This dysfunction spurred the Occupy Wall Street movement which spanned across the country.

Public opinion swooned further when 60 minutes released a report that members of Congress were reaping big profits by using insider-trading to fill their pockets.

To cap off the year, Republicans in Congress put tax increases for 160 million Americans on the table.  Republicans were also agreeable to terminating unemployment benefits to millions of other Americans.  This time Republicans in the Senate fought with Republicans in the House.

Smug Eric Cantor stood behind Boehner at every press opportunity.  His devilish grin angered struggling Americans who had expected the Senate’s extensions to be temporarily extended.  Boehner found himself squeezed by Cantor and his allies and the Senate Republicans and by the American public who helplessly watched this dysfunctional group play their hands.

John McCain, Mitch McConnell had no defense for the House Republicans.  Even Donald Trump disavowed the GOP.

As the congressional approval rating fell below 10 percent, the President’s approval rating climbed to 50%.  Rather than listen to Republican rhetoric, Americans supported their President.  Obama’s commitment to take his message to We The People was working.

The President has come across as a solid man with a vision that would balance the playing field between We The People and We The Few. This President has a balanced approach to government. Looking at the Republican candidates for the Presidency, Americans should be nervous.  If Republicans have the House, the Senate and the Presidency, We The People have no cause for hope.  We can expect another war, failed tax policies, damage to the environment, unregulated practices in the financial industry and continued high unemployment.

To restore dignity to We The People, a Democratically controlled House, Senate and Presidency are necessary.  When Americans go to the polls, they must remember the Payroll Tax Cut and Unemployment Insurance extensions.  Voters who remember the insanity caused by Boehner and Cantor and McConnell should act to eliminate the Tea Party, Norquist supporters in favor of a functional body that serves We The People.  Think about this.

A functional government for We The People is what We The Few fears more than anything else.

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

House GOP No Substance, All Talk

House Majority Speaker John Boehner says Americans should not worry.  One arm of the most dysfunctional  Congresses in history is at work.  Really?  On What?
John Boehner
Creative Commons License photo credit: Gage Skidmore

Today, Republican House members tabled the Senate’s bi-partisan payroll tax cut extension and the unemployment benefits extension.  These bills were passed by the Senate in a decisive bi-partisan vote of 89 – 10.  For the 2011 Senate, the margin of approval for the bills was astounding.

Failure to extend the payroll tax cut will result in 160 million Americans paying between $1,000 and $2,500 more in 2012.  Millions more Americans will lose 40 weeks of unemployment benefits.  Passage of the Senate bill would have granted the continuation of these benefits.

Republicans fail to acknowledge that the payroll tax cut has successfully added jobs and increased take home pay while encouraging small businesses to hire.  The country is inching out of the recession.  Unemployment rates are decreasing.  Housing is getting a bounce.  The GDP is off the dime and growing more quickly than expected.

This fragile recovery serves We The People well, but is not to the Republican’s benefit.

The only consistent policies from Republicans is their commitment to replacing President Obama while protecting millionaires and billionaires. To advance these two goals, Republicans and Tea Party politicians have been willing to undermine the economy and intimidate the middle class and the poor; the most vulnerable Americans.    

The essential terms of the Senate bills included:

  1.      Two month extension of the payroll tax reduction.
  2.      Two month extension of long-term unemployment.
  3.      An agreement to discuss the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The Senate passed the extension plan and promptly left town assuming that the House would realize the strong Senate support for the bills and approve them.  This is where things get sticky.

Majority Leader Boehner and Tea Party big shot Eric Cantor refused to bring the bill to the floor for a vote.  Instead, House members opted to move to conference with the Senate in the hopes of carving out a one-year deal.  Of course, the Senate went home understanding that their bill had Boehner’s blessing.

New York first-term Congressman Michael Grimm was interviewed Tuesday morning.  During the interview, Grimm voiced the Republican spin on why the bill would not reach the floor.  The newest Republican spin is that the House rejects a two-month extension during which time final details of the bill would be negotiated.  The extension is called “kicking the can” down the road.

In a midday speech, Boehner called upon the Senate to reconvene and conference with House members to finalize a one-year bill.  Boehner’s premise that the bill that passed the House was more than an extension of the payroll tax cuts.

No matter what you hear, the elephant in the room is the Keystone XL pipeline. 

Republicans downplay the addition of this contingency to what should have been an up or down vote on the payroll tax cut and the extension of unemployment benefits.  As described by the State Department, the pipeline does not have EPA approval. The State Department’s report indicates that the pipeline will create between 3,500 – 4,000 jobs.

What the pipeline will do, is increase the international export business. It will also diminish the supply of the Canadian tar sand oil to farmers in the midwest.  The State Department estimates that the farm belt can expect to pay $0.20 per gallon more than they now pay.

Let’s be clear.  Most of the oil provided under the Keystone XL pipeline will be shipped abroad and not used to reduce American energy costs.  So, if the environment is to be endangered and there are very few jobs connected to the pipeline and if American fuel prices will increase, not decrease, why are Republicans pushing to accelerate the Keystone XL?

You know, don’t you?  Of course, the Republicans are pushing for passage of the Pipeline at an accelerated pace because big oil will reap big profits; not We The People. Once again, the Republicans have included a project, that will benefit We The Few, to a bill that puts money in the economy right now.  Can there be any doubt about the Republican agenda?  House Republicans are shown their immoral persona one more time.  They take huge amounts of money from big oil and they refuse tax breaks for working Americans.  Congress pads their pockets with insider trading and charge taxpayers for their time.  Seems like a good job, don’t you think? Of course, Congress passed legislation banning insider trading but it does not apply to Congress.

It is Republicans that have caused the country’s credit rating to fall.  It is Republicans that held American workers hostage by only agreeing to extend the unemployment benefits if the Bush Tax Cuts were extended in 2009.  The Tea Party has vowed to oppose all tax increases.  But, when an extension of the payroll tax cut was on the table, Republicans suddenly changed direction.  They opposed the Payroll Tax Cut for two reasons.

  1.      The payroll tax cut was working.
  2.      Extended unemployment benefits pump money into the economy.

Republicans added the pipeline to their bill knowing full well that the Senate would not approve.  The addition of this proposal has clouded the middle class benefits and small business hiring incentives.  House Republicans blocked submitting the bill for an up or down vote.  The reason is that Republicans do not want to be on the record for voting against the bill.

A week ago, Speaker Boehner worked with Senate leaders McConnell (R) and Reid (D).  Behind closed doors, Boehner agreed to the deal and represented to the Senate leaders that the bill would pass.

It was not that long ago that Boehner and the President ironed out details on a $4.2 spending reduction plan.  However, when Boehner took the plan to his caucus, he was forced to change directions.  The result was that no plan passed.  The end result was that the American credit rating fell.  This was the exact outcome that the Tea Party and the Republicans wanted.

Today, the big losers are millions of Americans.  There are no winners.  Voters must come to realize how dysfunctional the House is.  Boehner has no control.  He is weak and lacks credibility.  He has been the Majority Leader in an arm of Congress that has the lowest approval rating and worst legislation record in the history of the country.

House Whip Eric Cantor looks familiar doesn’t he?  He is that elementary school bully; the one that does things behind your back.  He is the epitome of the sleazy politician.  He stands behind Boehner with his chesire cat grin and nods his head because every time Boehner changes direction, Cantor takes one more step toward the Speaker’s gavel.  He wants Boehner’s job and there is no hiding it.

Eric Cantor is a dangerous man.  He hides under the cloak of fiscal responsibility in a party that launched two unfunded wars and passed the Bush Tax Cuts at a time when the government needed increased income.  These acts, Bush’s push to socialize and deregulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pushed the economy and the world to the brink.  It is Republicans that caused the socialized relief of the banking sector.  It is We The People who bailed out the corrupt banking system.

When we look into the black hole that Republicans created, remember that when George Bush took office, he inherited a budget surplus.  He set out to fulfill the big spender Texan appetite and placed the country in an unsustainable position.

Every time poor John Boehner takes the podium, viewers suffer the same symptoms as they do when Rick Perry tries to respond to a question.  There is a difference.  Perry actually believes in his philosophy.  Boehner’s political beliefs seem to change after every meeting of his caucus.  It is a matter of time before he is replaced and/or has a public tearful breakdown.

NY senior Senator, Chuck Schumer, said that just last week, Boehner attended a meeting with Senate leaders Reid and McConell.  He left the meeting giving McConnell his proxy.  McConnell and Reid agreed to the revisions and the Senate passed the bill 89-10.  This margin rarely happens.

Adding insult to injury, Boehner now says he never liked the Senate bill.  Untrue! Perhaps he should stayed at the meeting and saved face.  Could he have had a golf date?  One look at Boehner tells you where he spends most of his day. The position of the House has now caused a rift between Senate Republicans and House Republicans.

In summary, the losers are the middle class, the elderly, the infirmed, the poor and John Boehner.  The Speaker’s integrity has suffered.  His credibility in his own party is shattered.  Meanwhile, Eric Cantor is several steps closer to the Speakership. If you want to untangle Congress, vote Boehner, Cantor and Tea Party candidates out…

, , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Kentucky’s Ben Chandler Draws Norquist and Tea Party Ire

The good news is that Congressman Ben Chandler has drawn the ire of radical Tea Party Activists and Grover Norquist’s Americans For Tax Reform.  Kentucky’s 6th district Representative was in the midst of a December fray regarding 3 pieces of legislation that Tea Party and Republican congressional members  pushed through the House.  These bills directly oppose the Administration’s efforts to protect We The People.

Chandler is the chair of the Blue Dog Coalition’s Task Force on Oversight and Regulatory Review.  This group is committed to reviewing approximately 8,000 pieces of legislation each year and ensuring that the intent of the legislation is consistent with the language of the bill.

Of Late, Congressman Chandler has drawn the ire of the Tea Party for opposing the Bush Tax Cuts. According to the Americans for Tax Reform, this is in violation of his Norquist pledge.  Chandler does not stand alone in revoking the pledge, called by Presidential hopeful John Hunstman a ridiculous pledge.  238 members of the House have signed the Norquist pledge.

To date, Chandler is the only Democrat to pull back from the pledge. He is joined by several courageous Republican members of congress that have reconsidered the economic impact of the Bush Tax Cuts, which extension Chandler supported in 2010 when Republicans held 7 million unemployed Americans hostage. The other Democrat to sign the pledge is Rep. Robert Andrews of New Jersey.  Recently, Andrews cooled the pledge and has indicated he is in Washington to do the People’s business, not follow Grover Norquist’s agenda.

Chandler advocates a balanced approach to reducing the deficit.  His position has incurred the wrath of the Tea Party and Norquist.  However, the number of Congressional members revoking their pledge is encouraging.  Of course, in 2012, the voters who do not ask whether a candidate intends to sign or has already signed Norquist’s pledge is proper due diligence.

The moral hazard of the Norquist pledge is far-reaching.  Responsible government means governing for We The People, not holding millions of Americans hostage while millionaires and billionaires enjoy a tax holiday.

Somehow, Republicans have attached the term “job creators” to We The Few.  In fact, loose regulation and unduly low taxes have pushed the country to the brink of bankruptcy. Additionally, the Republican mandate opposing more regulation is what allowed We The Few to increase their treasure chests at the expense of American and every other nation who held mortgage-backed securities.  Tea Partiers and Republicans want to re-visit those “Happy Days.”  They are also ready to take action against Iran before We The People have paid for the last two Republican induced wars.
The Message Is ... (Tea Party vs. Occupy Wall Street)
Creative Commons License photo credit: JoeInSouthernCA

Congressman Chandler gets it.  Although he supported the Tax Cut extension in 2010, he will not support the cuts in 2012.  Despite his initial error in signing the pledge, Chandler has proved to be a conscientious representative.  His voting record has been erratic.  He opposed Wall Street regulation, voted against the Health Care Reform and voted for the Stupak Amendment opposing Pro-choice.

The Tea Party’s December assault against Chandler was triggered by his positions on three important Republican bills.  The Congressman voted against two bills that did pass in the House and voted in favor of three bills that would contain the damage of another bill.

The Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act – HR 527 – passed the House on December 1st.  This bill addresses the impact that transparency and accountability have on small businesses.

Regulatory Accountability Act – HR 3010 – Passed the House on December 2nd. Requires a transparent and thorough examination of proposed regulatory reforms before they are enacted.

Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act 2011 (REINS) -HR 10 - Passed the House on December 7th. This wide-ranging legislation specifically identifies responsibilities of corporations with an economic impact of $100 million.

Chandler voted along party lines on REINS and on HR 3010.  He voted for HR 527, but also voted on three amendments that would diminish the effect of  HR 527.  19 Democrats supported HR 3010.  Twenty-eight Democrats voted for HR 527.

HR 3010 concentrates on 12 independent federal agencies as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  In efforts to weaken CFPB, Republicans have refused to accept President Obama’s nominee to head the new agency.  Among its necessary responsibilities, CFPB is charged to enforce Truth in Lending and Full Disclosure which would have prevented the housing crisis.  CFPB is We The People’s protection against unscrupulous credit card policies and bank overcharges.

All three bills are expected to fail in the Senate.  President Obama has already declared that he would veto all three bills.

Rep. Chandler finds himself in precarious position for the 2012 elections, when all incumbents will be subjected to close scrutiny.  Chandler barely survived a 2010 challenge from Republican Andy Barr.   The margin of victory was just 600 votes. With new redistricting, the 6th district will lean heavily Democratic.

Barr has already challenged Chandler’s voting record.  Citing the high unemployment and defending the Republican stance against regulation as a “job killer,” Barr will be a formidable opponent.

In defense, Chandler argues that his votes have reflected the wishes of his constituents.  However, Kentucky Democrats are not thrilled with his voting record and have raised concerns about his original support of the Norquist pledge. Chandler counters that his growing seniority offers him a chance to provide a bigger voice in the dysfunctional House.

In addition to the Blue Dog coalition, Rep. Chandler serves on the following caucuses:

  1. Healthy Forests Caucus
  2. Horse Caucus (Co-Chair)
  3. International Conservation Caucus(Co-Chair)
  4. Public Broadcasting Caucus (Co-Chair)
  5. Wildlife Refuge Caucus

Congressman Chandler serves on these important committee:

  1. Committee on Foreign Affairs
  2.  Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia
  3. Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
  4. Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence

The seats on these committees and subcommittees are treasured.  Democrats,  Kentucky and the nation can ill-afford to lose Chandler’s experience in Intelligence and Foreign Affairs.

Chandler has also received endorsements from several significant groups, including:

  1. The Veterans Vision Board endorses Chandler as a champion of Veteran’s rights.
  2. The Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans of America
  3. The 11 million member Trade Brigade of Citizens Trade Campaign.
  4. The Herald- Leader

Congressman Chandler’s voting record will come under fire from Andy Barr.  Kentuckians must appreciate that rather than vote along party lines, Chandler has had the courage to revoke the Norquist pledge which is the singular roadblock in reducing the country’s debt representing the safety and well-being of his constituents.  Ben Chandler needs your support.  The Tea Party activists have taken to the streets.  Democrats must respond in kind.

, , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Kirsten Gillibrand Working For New York

Kirsten Gillibrand has always run on a platform of transparency and accountability.  With Senator Gillibrand, there are no surprises. In her very first campaign against 4=term  incumbent Republican House Member John Sweeney in the 2006, her accountability was major factor.  Sweeney, like many Republicans had plenty of surprises. 

With two years under her belt, Gillibrand comfortably withstood a challenge from one-time Republican New York State Chairman, Sandy Treadwell in 2008.  In a televised debate against Treadwell, Gillibrand made a lasting impression with her sharp responses and thorough knowledge of problems and offered viable solutions to  her constituency.

Gillibrand, 45, is a mother of two young children. She attended Emma Willard School in Troy, New York, Dartmouth College where she was Magna Cum Laude and from the UCLA law school.  Kirsten has deep roots in Albany politics.  She has proven to be an outstanding fund-raiser and has more than $7 million in her reelection war chest.

If NY Republicans have their way, she will need all of that and more to hold her seat in the Senate.  In 2008, Gillibrand was selected by Governor Patterson to fill the vacated seat of Hillary Clinton, who accepted President Obama’s offer to serve as Secretary of State.  Prior to her election to serve in the House, Kirsten worked for Andrew Cuomo.  Governor Cuomo and Senior member of the Senate, Chuck Schumer, will not be on the over-card in this election.  Gillibrand may gain coat-tail support from President Obama’s run but Republicans are clearly posturing for a serious run.

Gillibrand moved to the Senate from the House in 2008.  She served for 2 years before a special election, which she won with 63 percent of the majority.  Gillibrand does not have the name recognition of Schumer or Cuomo but she has been and active Senator.  Her most recent action was a high-profile presentation of legislation

As of this date, Gillibrand has co-authored a bill known as The Stock Act.  Despite enough support from both sides of the aisle in the House that would have passed the bill, Republican majority leader in the House, Eric Cantor, refused to put the bill to a vote,  Surprise, surprise!  Why would the Republicans oppose a bill that had “teeth” and would prohibit members of Congress from participating in “Insider Trading?”  Again Gillibrand’s public call for Congressional accountability was rejected by Cantor.

Now, why would anyone expect Eric Cantor to table a transparent bill calling for accountability that increases the integrity of Congress?  Just one more example of the self-interest that has gridlocked the Hill and embarrassed taxpayers and traditional Republicans.

The Stock Act is typical of the Gillibrand platform.  The Senator stands firmly for her constituents. She is straightforward, honest and votes for programs that benefit New Yorkers.  There are no backroom deals in Senator Gillibrand’s record. 

Senator Gillibrand is the first Senator to post her daily schedule on her blog.  She also identifies participants in all her meetings.

Kirsten has vigorously fought for proper health care for 9/11 first responders. The Senator also helped overturn the 17-year ban against gays serving in the military.  At first, Senator Gillibrand was viewed as a Senate fill-in and outsider, but the Senator’s ability to articulate her convictions on a variety of issues soon established Kirsten as the real deal. The Senator also supported the Dream Act, which is legislation that her constituents approve as a positive solution to the immigration issue.

Senator Gillibrand sits on the following committees which reflect areas of concern in New York State.

 Special Aging Committee

Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee

Armed Services Committee

Environment and Public Works Committee

Senator Gillibrand’s seat of the Armed Services Committee is important.  The Senator is becoming a firm voice in the arena of Defense. Her  committee experiences may make it difficult for a Republican candidate to debate with Kirsten.

Senator Gillibrand should receive high praise and public endorsements from the state’s two biggest political names; Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senator Chuck Schumer. Gillibrand’s top priority is to create jobs and defend the middle class. 

Republicans see Gillibrand as a beatable target in the 2012 election.  With 21 Democratic Senate seats at stake in the 2012 Senate races, this is one seat Democrats can ill  afford to lose.  Not only is Gillibrand a tenacious voice, she is also everything American politics should be.  It is no accident that her closest friend in Congress is Arizona’s inspirational Gabby Giffords.

Republican State Party Chairman, Ed Cox, posted a letter in the Syracuse Post Standard.  The headline was State GOP seeks strong challenger for Gillibrand.  Thus far, the only announced candidate is George Maragos, the Nassau County Comptroller.  However, it appears the GOP would prefer unannounced Harry Wilson, a self-made millionaire and hedge fund manager.  

Wilson was extremely critical of the Super Committee’s inability to arrive at meaningful spending cuts.  In his first run at the Office of State Comptroller, Wilson was narrowly defeated by incumbent Democrat, Tom DiNapoli.  As of this date, Wilson has on;ly said he was “seriously considering” a run at Gillibrand.  To fund his campaign, Wilson used his own funds.  

Gillibrand can expect both Wilson and Maragos to present a platform pushing for serious deficit reductions. It is unclear if the Tea Party will back either candidate.  It may help Senator Gillibrand if either of the Republican candidates adopts the Tea Party platform or if the agree to sign the Norquist pledge if elected.  The two most divisive obstacles for effective governance are the Tea Party and the Norquist Pledge.

If New Yorkers are tired of gridlock and sympathetic to the plight of the impoverished and the middle class, voters must support Gillibrand and all Democratic members of the House.  Republicans have taken every opportunity to continue the unemployment malaise.  A vote for Democrats is a vote against Norquist and a vote for untangling the necessary gridlock. All the while, Kirsten Gillibrand has always been  a voice of reason.  We can count on Gillibrand to improve accountability in the U.S. Senate.

, , , , ,

No Comments

Senator Bill Nelson In Fight For Florida Re-election

The goal of every American should be to end the gridlock that has frozen Congress since the arrival of Grover Norquist’s pledge and Tea Party activists in 2010.  In the Senate, Democrats may have difficulty holding and increasing their slim majority.  21  Democratic Senators, 10 Republican Senators and 2 Independent seats will at stake on November 6, 2012.

Senator Bill Nelson speaks
Creative Commons License photo credit: jonworth

With a congressional approval rating of 9 percent, every incumbent can expect strong opposition.  This reality is a dark cloud hovering over Democrats in the Senate.  President Barrack Obama has framed the Democratic platform as a hopeful plan to help the impoverished and middle class from irresponsible legislation that threatens the country’s educational system, health programs, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

In 2012, Democrats are expected to push hard for the millionaire and billionaire tax increase that the majority of Americans and many millionaires and billionaires support.  Those members of Congress who have signed the Norquist Pledge have staunchly opposed any tax increase proposals or any legislation paid for by this tax increase.

The majority of American voters support the millionaire and billionaire tax.  However, many of their constituents were unaware that their representatives and senators had signed the controversial pledge.  Every candidate for public office should be required to state their position on the Norquist Pledge. Furthermore, no new congressional members should sign the pledge unless their constituents agree with the pledge.

The paralysis of the Norquist pledge was best exemplified when 8 Republican presidential hopefuls responded that they would not support a tax increase even if every dollar of the tax increase was accompanied by 10 dollars in spending cuts.  This revelation left all Democrats and many Republicans stunned by the inflexible response.  To unlock gridlock, congressional members who have signed the Norquist pledge must go. Although they may not admit it, traditional Republicans will welcome the departure of these extremist politicians.

This country needs honest politicians who are willing to respond to the people’s needs not the paralyzing political agenda that has caused the US credit rating to slump and has not provided one constructive job program.  The 2012 voter will have tough decisions to make, but by eliminating the Norquist supporters the Congress may be able to function as effective bodies of government.  At this point, that 9 percent approval rating has a long way to go.  2012 is the first step in what promises to be a steep climb back to the functional bodies that We The People need.

Once again, Florida promises to be a key battleground state.  With a very unpopular first term Republican Governor, Rick Scott, voters have begun circulating a petition for recall. Scott’s endorsement carries little weight and may well work against other Republican candidates in 2012.

The senior Senator from Florida is Bill Nelson. The Senator was educated at Yale and obtained his law degree from the University of Virginia.  Nelson enjoys a productive 30-year career in politics.  Bill is a fiscally moderate Democrat.  He began public service by serving in the Florida State House of Representatives from 1972 until 1979.  Presently, Nelson serves on the centrist Democratic Leadership Council. Senator Nelson served in the US House from 1979 until 1991.  He won the election to the Senate in 2001 and was re-elected in 2006.

Bill has successfully represented Floridians in both houses of congress.  He is passionate about NAS and is the only member of Congress to go into space.  He has long advocated that Washington should increase funding to NASA.  In 2001, Nelson warned “You just can’t continue to starve the American space agency of funds (without jeopardizing safety.) I am very frustrated with the White House budget proposal on NASA.”  His comments were ignored and in 2003 the shuttle suffered a fatal accident.

Senator Nelson has or is currently serving on the following important Senate committees.

*     Commerce, Science and Transportation

*     Commerce Subcommittee on Technology and Space (Chairperson)

*     Budget Committee

*     Finance Committee

*     Select Committee on Intelligence

*     Special Committee on Aging

Senator Nelson is highly respected.  He has a long record on integrity in terms of respect for civil liberties, transparency and public accessibility, equal rights, environmental protections and peaceful solutions to foreign policy issues.

Several Republicans have not committed to the primary.  The possible list of candidates is long.

*     George LeMieux of Broward County.  Former chief of staff for Governor Charlie Crist who was appointed by Crist to fill the seat of Mel Martinez.

*      Mike Haridopolos – The President of the State Senate hails from Merritt Island.

*     Connie Mack IV – Member of the US House. Has strong name recognition.

*     Adam Hasner - Former State House Majority Leader.  Excellent fund-raiser.

*     Vern Buchanan – Member of the US House.  Serves on Ways and Means Committee.

Other possible Republican candidates are Jeb Bush, Mike McCalister, Bill Fisher, Allen West and others.

Below are the results of ”You just can’t continue to starve the American space agency of funds (without jeopardizing safety.) I am very frustrated with the White House budget proposal on NASA.” In 2003, the space program experienced a fatal crash.

Below are the results of a Wilson, Perkins, Allen Research poll on 11-16-11.

1.     Nelson 48% vs. Hasner 33%

2     Nelson 47 % vs. Lemieux 32%

3.     Nelson 46% vs. Mack 35%

4.     Nelson 47% vs. McCalister 32%

5.     Nelson 49% vs. Miller 30%

This is a Senate Race that Democrats can ill afford to lose.  It would be helpful if a recall of Governor Scott is successful.  There is a strong possibility that Florida’s other Senator, Marco Rubio will be the Republican vice-presidential nominee.

Like other responsible representatives, Nelson is frustrated by the Republicans unwillingness to address The People’s concerns. Nelson has an important presence in the Senate and Floridians cannot suffer another Norquist supporter.  As with most of the 2012 elections, middle class and the impoverished voters must decide if they trust Norquist’s Republican  supporters more than their Democratic counterparts.  If voters are fed up with the Republican gridlock that is designed to support Wall Street and big money politicians at the expense of We The People keep support Bill Nelson for the Senate.

, , , , , , ,

No Comments

Obama Draws Line In Sand

On Tuesday, President Obama delivered his most powerful speech since taking office. The central theme was  that America succeeds when everyone “gets a fair share and pays their fair share.”  President Obama eloquently presented a passionate statement about the 2012 race for the White House and the malaise that Republicans have caused in the nation’s most ineffective Congress in history.

Barack Hussein Obama Vector Portrait
Creative Commons License photo credit: Vectorportal
The President described the rights of the middle class and the impoverished as the defining issue of his campaign to serve a second term.  The tone of the speech was forceful and served to differentiate the political philosophies of the Republican, Tea Party and Democratic principles.

The President drew upon the policy statements that have surfaced in the Republican debates. Obama vowed to continue with the regulatory initiatives that have cracked down on predatory lenders, Wall Street and other consumer credit markets.  Obama’s new truth in lending policies now calls for transparency and full disclosure, two principles that were compromised in the housing boom. The President was on the attack against programs that have helped create more financial disparity in American Society.

The President repeated his belief that most millionaires and billionaires were receptive to paying their fair share of taxes.  In a recent poll, 67 percent of Americans favor higher taxes on the wealthy.  President Obama continues to press the Republicans and especially the Tea Party on tax increases for the wealthy.  The Republicans have been slow to extend two important pieces of legislation.  Without extensions,  the long-term unemployment benefits and the current  payroll tax cut will soon expire. These bills have helped encourage jobs and have helped millions of unemployed workers survive.

Last time around, the Republicans used the fate of the unemployed to leverage a major concession from the White House.  7 million people would have had their benefits halted if the President did not agree to extend the Bush Tax Cuts.  Republicans hold these tax cuts as the means to increase jobs.  However, the tax cuts have now been in play for nearly ten years.  During that time, there is little evidence that the “job creators”or the benefactors of the Bush cuts have risen to meet the unemployment challenge.

Traditional Republicans and Tea Party Republicans advocate for the extension of Bush’s cuts.  In reality, the Bush Tax Cuts have served the wealthy well.  At the same time, the middle class struggles to stay above water.  One of the President’s major  concerns is the shape of our society.  With more than 40 million families and 21 million children living in poverty, American society has taken on the appearance of a caste system.

In seeking remedies to pay for their failed policies and two wars, the poor and the middle class are being asked to cut back on education, health and social services. The Republicans have not offered one jobs plan.  Republicans  are content to oppose every plan from the Democratic side. When the country most needs these programs, Republicans ask the middle class to sacrifice so that the wealthy can be more prosperous.

The gap from the real-time reality on Main Street and the prosperity on Wall Street is characterized by Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s response to the President’s speech. After agreeing to participate in a debate hosted by Donald Trump, Gingrich was asked by CNBC his opinion of Obama’s speech.  His response was that President Obama “is the finest food stamp president in American history.”  You really have to wonder on what planet Gingrich lives.

President Obama does not complain about where 8 years of GW Bush’s Republican policies took America.  Rather than admit their policies failed, they are attempting to destroy the messenger.  By ignoring the economic and employment crisis that Republicans initiated and enabled, the GOP Presidential candidates try to distance themselves.  The rest of us will be paying for the Republican’s  lavish spending for years to come.  Where were Republican politicians then? How nice it must be to have a short memory and be able to overlook the moral hazards of GW Bush.  Republicans launched two wars, one against a country that did not have weapons of mass destruction, and offered the public the Bush Tax cuts.  At that time, Republicans were not questioning how the wars and the tax cuts would be funded.

Adding insult to injury, the Republican defense of unregulated financial institutions caused the recession and tore through 401k’s and money market saving that impacted the middle class more than any other income level.  On Tuesday, the President passionately confirmed his commitment to further his new regulation policies.  Yet, by Wednesday morning, Republicans vowed that they would oppose every proposed leader for the leadership of Obama’s new consumer protection bureau would.

The President’s vision highlights the need for a stronger educational system. The US needs scientists and educated entrepreneurs. The opportunity to succeed ceases when the country’s educational facilities are understaffed and when academic excellence is compromised by funding cuts.

The President offers a solution the gridlock that has constipated Washington. To get out from under, voters must re-elect the president and try to overturn the majority in the House and add seats to their narrow majority in the Senate.  This is the formula that will unchain the middle class and the poor.  This is the formula that will clarify the country’s priorities.

President Obama called upon his base to get out the vote. The consequences of a lack of support will dramatically change the landscape of the country.  The 41 million middle class families that are trending toward poverty will have a hard landing.

The Republicans can paint the scene time and time again, but the end result is always the same. Most Republican congressional members have put their Grover Noquist pledge ahead of the best interests of their constituents.   Republicans will follow a path that is filled with self-interest.  If Republicans take the White House and gain control of the Senate and the House, the poor and the middle class will receive less help and drastic cuts to education and social programs.

The President has a vision for the future.  The President is committed to higher education.  The President is committed to an aggressive jobs bill.  He believes in the common good.  Reverse all these statements and you have the Republican candidate for President.

, , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Reid To Push Payroll Tax Cut

The Sunday morning talk shows were aglitter with Republicans Michelle Bachman and Ron Paul vying for humiliated Herman Cain’s supporters to jump aboard their campaigns.  In what has become an almost comical  sideshow the Republicans stand firmly divided about their presidential candidate.  The possibility of Ron Paul running independently must sound like a musical dream to Democrats.  If the stakes were not so high, the Republican performers could easily outdo their Saturday Night Live impersonators.

But, the stakes are high, very high.  The tragedy is that the world’s greatest democracy is behaving like a third world government or, worse yet, Greece.  The extension of the payroll tax cuts is just one more example of how divisive politics in Washington have become.  First the Senate rejected the Democratic proposal to extend the payroll tax cut and pay for it on a tax for millionaires.  Last Thursday, the Republican proposal to pay for the extension by freezing federal employee salaries and reducing the work force by 10% failed miserably.

The payroll tax cut is due to expire on December 21, 2011.  On Thursday, the Republican proposal sank when 29 Republicans jumped ship.  Undoubtedly, Republicans are in a quandary.  They have painted themselves into a corner on this one and cannot reconcile how the payroll cut could not receive support without costing thousands of federal employees their jobs.

This tax cut impacts the taxpayer’s take-home pay.  If the extension is not granted, everyday household income will decline about $1,500 in 2012.  Republicans are quick to say the payroll tax cut has not been effective.  Democrats rightly point to the explosive holiday shopping season and economist’s predictions that 4th quarter GDP will rise 3 percent.

The Republicans took another hit on Friday when the U.S. Labor Department published its Non-Farm Payroll report for November.  120,000 new private sector jobs were created.  Additionally, hefty adjustments to September and October payroll reports helped to drive the unemployment rate down to 8.6 percent.  In November another 315,000 persons stopped looking for work.  Republicans suggest that these are discouraged workers.  Maybe, maybe not.  At this time of year, there exist ways for workers to work “under the table.”

In any case, the facts are clear.  The unemployment rate is down and GDP is growing.  All this despite coordinated attacks by Republicans against the will of the people and contrary to the best interests of the people they are sworn to represent.  In reality, the Republicans are more concerned with  denying President Obama a second term than they are to legislate responsibly.

The Republicans emit so many objections that they now seem to be disputing the very tax cuts that they have supported in the past.  How extending the payroll tax cut violates the Republican mandate, Grover Norquist’s pledge, is  confusing, even to the pledge signers.   Voting against extending the payroll tax cut is contrary to the Norquist pledge.

The behavior is so out-of-character that even John Boehner slipped and stated that the payroll tax extension had merit.  He may live to eat those words when the likes of Eric Cantor and his Tea Partiers oppose the extension. With every Democratic proposal, the Republicans appear unorganized, out-of-sync and flailing for more negative input.  Thankfully, many conservatives are making it clear that their Tea Party has run its course.

The public view of Congress is that this is the least effective Congress in the history of the nation.  The national approval rating is dwindling to new lows and resides uncomfortably below 10 percent. Undeterred by the reality that only one in ten Americans think the Congress is functional, the Tea Party continues their barrage of assaults on well-intentioned members of Congress.   No wonder Boehner is confused.  He has never been subjected to such a self-imploding body of government.

Republicans hate that the country is recovering at a slow pace without any help from Congress.  Imagine where we would be with a functional Congress!

Let’s not forget the recent 60 minute documentary that confirmed that members of Congress were permitted to use insider training to bolster their income.  The revelation that 40 members of Congress have become millionaires while serving the people shocked most voters but might help explain the disconnect.  Most likely, the effects of the recession and the unregulated subprime mortgage crisis, served these insiders well.  No wonder the Republicans want less regulation and no tax increases for millionaires. Those initiatives are too close to home.

Republicans are so far removed from constructive governing that they have lost their way.  Instead, they have turned against the very people who elected them.  Congress works in an environment that is totally removed from Main Street.  Fortunately, it is in the best interests of Wall Street and the too large financials to extend the tax cut.  Perhaps Majority Leader Reid’s new proposal, which will be paid for, will get enough support from the other side of the aisle.   Then, we will have to go through the uncomfortable tragedy that is the Republican controlled House of Representatives.

This has the makings for another perfect storm.  One in which Boehner knows the right course but can not sell it to his Republican allies.

Bigger fights are in the immediate future.  Not only is the payroll tax cut about to expire but so are long-term unemployment benefits for million of Americans.  The last time around, Congress held the gun to Obama’s head. Republicans were set to deny 7 million unemployed workers their  benefits.  The President was held hostage.  He grudgingly agreed to extend the Bush Tax Cuts that helped the wealthy Republicans reap big rewards with inappropriate tax cuts while the country was engaged in two Republican wars.  This was Republican George Bush’s formula that  jumped started deficit spending.

The fact is that Congress will be gridlocked until the President is supported by a majority in both chambers.  While we cannot wait until the next election, we cannot compromise.  If Republicans cannot respond favorably to the payroll tax cut, unemployment extension and the Bush Tax Cuts, the President should allow them to expire.  That would create a $4 trillion windfall to help reduce the deficit and to fund worthwhile job initiatives.

If we cannot succeed with bi-partisan efforts, we must vote these dissenters out of office.

Republicans are uniform that the Bush Tax cuts help high income earners create jobs.  Really?  It is impossible to see job creation linked to the Republican tax cuts. It sure is easy to see that the middle class is dwindling and that the poverty that does not exist in Congress is running rampant in the home districts of these self-helped millionaires.  With 44 million American families and 21 million American children living in poverty and with another 45 million middle class families trending toward poverty, how can Republicans look themselves in the mirror?

If things do not change, we may well revisit the 60′s protest era.  Who amongst us believes Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich will help the middle class or the impoverished?  It will not happen.  When considering all the political possibilities, nothing could be more treacherous and fill the streets with violent protest than Newt or Mitt presiding over a country with a Republican House and a Republican Senate.  It does not get any more dangerous than that.

, , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

Elizabeth Warren Building Her Base

Consumer and middle-class advocate Elizabeth Warren and incumbent Republican Scott Brown will square off for Senator Edward Kennedy’s senate seat in Washington. This race shapes up to be one of the most expensive battles on next year’s docket.

In the 2010 race to fill Kennedy’s seat, Democrats were stunned with Brown’s victory over Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. Brown played the role of the easy-going friend next door to the hilt. Coupling this role with strong support from the Tea Party, Brown breezed by Coakley whose campaign was lackluster at best. The 2012 race will be high-profile and will reflect the deep divide between Republicans and Democrats.

Brown and Grover Norquist

Brown was sworn to office in February 2010. Appreciative of the support of the Tea Party, Brown wasted no time signing the Norquist pledge. During his tenure, the Senator crossed the Norquist line by supporting the existing ethanol policy, a $6 billion subsidy.

Brown drew the ire of Norquist’s American Tax Reform for going against the grain of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The Tea Party has toned down the pro-Brown rhetoric.

Since taking office, Brown has not been Tea Party compliant. He appears to have one eye on the Tea Party and another eye on his re-election. For the most part, Brown has complied with most Tea Party initiatives to impose deep spending cuts to programs upon which the fate of the middle class, the poor and the unemployed rests.

Warren And The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Elizabeth Warren gained acclaim for her work to develop President Obama’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. As a passionate advocate for consumer protection, Warren went against the grain. She was infuriated with the reckless and self-serving credit standards used by too-large-to-fail financial institutions. Her every move was resisted by Republicans.

Unabashed, Warren persevered. The Harvard professor and graduate of Rutgers Law School staked her claim by creating an effective platform to rewrite uniform lending policies that were transparent and accompanied by full disclosure. The new Truth in Lending Act has Warren’s footprint imbedded in credit and mortgage lenders.

Warren’s policies have reshaped the relationship between lenders and borrowers

The creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau cast Warren favorably in her role based on her personal commitment to protect consumers. Regarding Warren as controversial, President Obama did not hire Warren to head the Consumer Protection Bureau. The Democratic National Committee immediately pursued Warren.

Her tight grip on consumer’s rights became a source of agitation for the large banks and credit card providers whose credit policies resulted in millions of foreclosures, millions of short sales, billions of dollars of credit card overcharges. These lax, unregulated practices nearly collapsed the global markets. Warren was charged with building a regulatory agency that could prevent a recurrence.

Elizabeth Warren has been the target of derisive rhetoric from the right-wing establishment and big financials. In a city where government is mired in gridlock, Warren has been one of the few consistent voices.

In what is sure to be one of the country’s most high-profile races, Warren will continue her tenacious pursuit of serving the people. In Massachusetts, Brown’s endorsement of the Norquist pledge caught much of the Commonwealth constituency by surprise. There will be no surprises with Elizabeth Warren who has been successful in overcoming political roadblocks. She is one of the few people who has succeeded with her assignment.

A Big Money Race

Warren was successful with her September fundraising. She received more than $3 million to launch her run. In the same time frame, Brown raised $1.5 million raising the incumbent’s war chest to $10 million.

This election is important for a number of reasons. Democrats cannot afford any more losses in the Senate. They hope to increase their majority to 60 votes. Meanwhile, Republicans want to gain the advantage so they control both the House and the Senate. Every Democratic victory is a step in unraveling the gridlock caused by insider Republican politics and back room deals that usurp the people’s wishes.

Since deciding to run, Warren has taken a very personal and hands-on approach to her candidacy. She is attending town hall meetings and taken her message on an unusual door-to-door introduction. Considering her passion for defending not only her constituents but also voters across the nation, this should not be surprising.

The acclaimed professor takes this opportunity and responsibility personally. Coakley lacked enthusiasm for the fight against Brown. Warren brings first-hand experience and unlimited passion to the 2012 race. She is a credible source about the workings of Washington and Brown.

More importantly, this race characterizes the rift between the Republican elitist establishment and Warren’s fight for the people. There is a deep chasm between the principals and policies these two candidates support.

Warren advocates policies that will help the 46 million Americans living in poverty, the 21 million children living in poverty and the 51 million Americans trending toward the poverty level. Brown is not on solid ground if the race boils down to addressing these issues.

Warren’s “can do” mindset will pit her squarely against Brown and the Republican quagmire. If elected, she will ruffle feathers. Warren is not intimidated by Washington. She is well-known by incumbent senators and house members. As for ruffling feathers, that is nothing new to Elizabeth Warren.

With Elizabeth Warren, residents of the Commonwealth will be represented the way they should have been represented since Brown tried to fill Ted Kennedy’s seat. Her constituents can look forward to her vigorous, a-political representation.

, , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments