Archive for the ‘Political Ranting’ Category

Looking Back, How Would This Have Been Received?

February 6th, 2011 4 comments

Moderator: OK, let’s ask our vice-presidential candidates what they will be doing a few years from now should they not win the election.

Senator: Well, I intend to continue to serve in the Senate, focusing on my post in the Committee on Foreign Relations, working with the opposition to improve our standing in the world.

Moderator: And you, governor?

Governor: Oh, if I lose then I’m just gonna quit as governor mid-term, so I can, you know, concentrate on book deals, giving commentary for Fox News–and oh yeah, I’m gonna have my own reality TV show! As for interviews, I’m gonna only let Fox–the friendlier people on Fox that is–interview me, because I just can’t stand that lamestream media and their “Gotcha” journalism. For the most part, though, I’ll stay in politics using Facebook and Twitter, establishing my credentials so I can become a kingmaker in the midterms, and possibly a presidential candidate in the next election.

Moderator: [Pause] Are you fucking kidding me?

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Armed Rebellion? Hardly. Conspiracy Theories? Absolutely. Whatever, Just Vote.

November 3rd, 2010 7 comments

In all likelihood, we’ll see happen what people like Nate Silver project, and the Republicans will win the House by 30 or so seats, while the Democrats hang on to the Senate by perhaps two seats.

But just as a thought experiment, what would happen if Democrats do better than expected? What if the Democrats are energized by recent events? What if independents feel turned off by the publicity generated by the crazy Tea Partiers? What if people in states like Alaska and Nevada step up to the polls and ask, “Am I really going to vote for an idiot like this just because I’m not fond of the other guy? What if the minority vote is stronger than expected because of anti-immigrant, anti-minority sentiments on the right? What if the polling guesses about ”likely“ voters (as opposed to just ”registered“ voters) is off? What if Democratic turnout is being underestimated because pollsters still favor land-line over cell phone respondents, and did not correct for it enough? Or what if just fate throws a curve ball?

Like I said, I don’t expect all that to happen, I fully expect to be disappointed and glum after this is over. But, what would the reaction from the right wing be if Democrats managed to hold on to control of the House and held more Senate seats than expected?

So far, not one, but two Republican candidates have openly stated that they would favor violent overthrow of the government if elections were lost by Republicans. Already Fox and other conservative outlets are drumming away at the message that minorities are planning to commit massive voter fraud, despite no actual evidence existing to that effect.

Remember, back in 2008, people expected Obama to win, and he did. But since then, half of all Republicans have come to believe that ACORN rigged the election for Obama through voter fraud, despite the fact that it was patently impossible for them to do so.

As I explained a year ago, in order for this to have happened, Obama would have to have stolen 935,000 votes minimum. This was the total of votes in the states with the closest margins that would have to have gone to McCain to win him the election. But it’s not just a matter of pure numbers–these 935,000 would have to have been precisely targeted in exactly the right states in exactly the right amounts. Realistically, ACORN would have to have stolen millions to get this effect, or else be gifted with a time machine and godlike accuracy.

ACORN, however, only registered 900,000 voters in only 21 states–meaning that even if every voter ACORN registered were fake, and every state necessary for Obama to win were covered by ACORN, and the fake votes were distributed just right, ACORN would still have been 35,000 votes shy.

In short, there was no mechanism for Obama to steal the election–not even close. It simply just couldn’t have happened. And sorry, but a couple of New Black Panther guys standing outside a single polling place in Philadelphia which was mostly a minority station anyway did not account for all the other votes. And yet, not only do 52% of Republicans think ACORN stole the election, a full 73% believe he did not win legitimately.

Republicans don’t need a workable, real-world mechanism to believe in voter fraud. They just need an tissue-thin excuse.

This is unlike Democrats, who in 2000 did not just have a mechanism, they had a smoking gun. There is no dispute that Katherine Harris disenfranchised tens of thousands of legitimate voters–mostly Democrats–with the ”felons list“ which was constructed not just of felons, but anyone with a similar name to a felon, which would disproportionately target black voters in the state. By any count, far more voters were illegitimately removed from the voter lists than were necessary to throw the election for Bush. And if that’s not enough, 2100 spoiled Republican absentee ballot requests were illegally altered by Republican party workers in Seminole County. In short, there is no question that voter fraud in 2000 won the election for Bush–it could not have done otherwise. We forget this because the courts and the public essentially dropped any action due to the chaos it would have caused–but it did happen. The facts are out in the clear, there is no conspiracy theory required. It just happened.

The 2004 vote was a different deal–the conspiracy theorists insist that Ohio was stolen, but there was no smoking gun. As a result, most Democrats will not say Bush stole that election–but those who do at least have a valid mechanism to explain it. Diebold voting machines of the time were demonstrably open to tampering, the president of the company had openly stated that he would do whatever was necessary to win the election for Bush in Ohio–the single state which swung the election–and analysis of voting data is suspicious to say the least. Nothing can be proved, but at least it was conceivably possible that it could have been done. And yet you will not find 73% or even 52% of Democrats who will say they think Bush stole that election. I would guess that not even 10% remember the issue at all.

A majority of Republicans, on the other hand, seem capable in believing astonishingly impossible conspiracy theories, without any facts or evidence to back them up–just hints and innuendo and a few smear campaigns with carefully edited videos not even directly related, and presto–most Republicans buy a story which is demonstrably false.

So back to the present. What would happen if the Dems, against all expectations, actually won today? Not just lost smaller, but actually held control of both houses?

Obviously, there would be no armed rebellion. I think we all know that whole line is just BS to tickle the extremists. But if 52% of Republicans believe Obama stole his election when the polls predicted he would win, and the story saying he stole it is idiotically thin, how many Republicans would believe the already-circulating stories of voter fraud should the Democratic candidates beat the predictions? And more importantly, how would they react?

Fortunately and/or unfortunately, we will most likely never find out. But it’s a disturbing thought.

One thing though: whatever you think the outcome will be–vote. I sent my absentee ballot off a while ago. Don’t give any excuses. And yes, that includes Geoff and Jon and SteveTV and everyone else. This much is not a partisan conviction. Not voting is plain stupid.

Of course, voting Republican is stupid, too. That much is a partisan conviction. But also one with a pretty solid mechanism behind it.

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Which Way Are We Going?

October 5th, 2010 4 comments

Let me see if I have this straight. A number of people in conservative circles are suggesting privatizing retirement savings and doing away with social security, and similarly getting rid of Medicare and other public health care initiatives. They wish to lower taxes for the wealthy, already at historic lows; deregulate businesses and finance; do away with the minimum wage and unemployment insurance; and to fight against unions while leaving the door open to shipping jobs to poor countries with few if any labor laws. All in the name of liberty and freedom and the individual.

They wish to do away with the public version of social security, leaving only private retirement plans which could leave millions broken when the markets tumble (as they have a tendency to do), with the sentiment of “tough for them.”

They wish to do away with Medicare, and health care in general, and leave the pharmaceutical and insurance industries to do and charge whatever they wish, leaving tens of millions either uninsured or just as bad while paying for it. Caveat emptor and all that.

They wish to lower tax rates on the wealthy and on corporations, already capable of evading the nominal tax rates, to levels well below the historical average, even doing away with some taxes altogether, and erase most regulations that keep these people from being excessively predatory on the poor and the weak. Because a person with wealth always gains more wealth by the sweat of his brow, not by taking advantage of others before whom he can dangle the carrot and always get more than he gives. No, their money is always earned fair and square, with no help from anyone else, and asking for them to give back to the society they earned it in is, well, socialist and evil.

They wish to discourage or otherwise break up unions, discard the minimum wage, and do away with unemployment insurance. Because if your job went overseas to someone who will work for a dollar a day and your family is starving, then it’s your own damn fault for being so stupid for not being a successful, self-made businessman, and you should expect to receive no handouts and no help.

These are all pretty much the policy ideas coming from various areas of the right wing these days, especially from Tea Party candidates and groups.

Maybe it’s just me, but that sounds like a horrific world they wish to create. Might as well just take the next step at the same time and strike child labor laws, set up debtors’ prisons, and maybe even officially bring back indentured servitude and the road that leads to. After all, if you can’t make your way, what right do you have for any favors from the government?

I So VERY Much Wish I Could Be in DC Next Month

September 17th, 2010 9 comments

Leave it to Stewart & Colbert to use zany comedy to Do The Right Thing. Beck promised a rally to restore “Honor” (something right-wingers seem stuck on doing over and over again) but seemed to fall just a teensy bit short, as “honor” is nothing more than a buzzword for these people. The Comedy Channel duo, on the other hand, promise to restore sanity, and you know they’re going to do their job a hundred times better.

After a lengthy, persistent Internet campaign started by users of the site Reddit that raised over $200,000 for charity, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have relented. They will host opposing rallies on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on October 30.

The announcement started last night on The Daily Show, when Stewart announced his Rally to Restore Sanity, a call to the nation to “take it down a notch for America.” The name, of course, mocks Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally — so naturally, Stewart compared his choice of date to Beck’s choice of the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

“Now you’re probably saying to yourself, October 30, 2010, that rings a bell … the 36th anniversary of George Forman [sic] and Muhammad Ali’s Rumble in the Jungle in Zaire! Yes! But that’s not why the date is significant. I’ll tell you the significance of October 30th. You see, The Daily Show’s actually already going to be in Washington doing shows.”

As his segment drew to a close, Stewart provided some sample protest signs for the realistic, sane ralliers to carry. They included, “I disagree with you, but I’m pretty sure you’re not Hitler.”

But naturally, Stephen Colbert wasn’t going to take that lying down. On The Colbert Report, he lashed out against Stewart’s call for reason, noting that “reason is just one letter away from treason.” So to counteract Stewart, he announced his own rally, “to fight Jon Stewart’s creeping reasonableness, [and] to restore truthiness.”

Colbert’s rally, The March to Keep Fear Alive, will also occur on October 30 in Washington. Colbert, naturally, used fearmongering to get people to attend. “People should definitely book their hotel rooms now,” he said, “or their children might turn gay.”

I just love it. The “Rally to Restore Sanity” vs. “The March to Keep Fear Alive.” Perfect counterpoints. There are reports that they have indeed reserved public spaces; if it is in fact for real, there could be a huge turnout for this. [Having now watched the show, I can’t believe it’s not real; Stewart was insistent.]

What would be so great, just a perfect cap to all of this, would be if they had way bigger crowds. I mean, way bigger, so big that Fox could not possibly deny Whose Crowd Was Bigger, as they seem to really get off on that kind of thing. I wish I could go–my diaper is all ready to go–but I don’t know if the Friday evening flight from Tokyo would get me there in time.

And gee whiz, what’s that with the timing? Three days before the midterm elections? What a coincidence!

You know, my only hope in all of this is that the polls are in fact wrong, that there’s a dynamic being missed here. That too many Tea Party radicals are getting too much attention; that the polls are not counting “registered voters” in their prediction of Republican landslides; that Dems bunch up their pantyhose and actually push the Tax Break for People Who Are Not Rich and force Republicans to either vote for it or vote against it, either one being a good thing for Democrats. That Obama will be as effective on the campaign trail as he was two years ago. That the sane moderates, even the ones who say they don’t like the Democrats, will, when faced with a voting machine, wake up, come to their senses, realize the insanity they face, and do what they did in 1992–vote the way they know is the only reasonable way.

Categories: Entertainment, Political Ranting Tags:

The Story Needs a Villain

September 1st, 2010 6 comments

I’d like to hear reactions to this.

The mosque controversy is a struggle between the reckless and the prudent, between the dim-witted and the progressive. But we’re not the reckless radicals they wish for. No, liberals span the broadest range of American demography imaginable. We defy stereotyping, except for love of country. Look in your mirror, your shopping mall, your church, your grocery store–that’s us. Millions of ordinary people and extraordinary people. War heroes, sports idols, U.S. Presidents, and movie stars.

But the screeching hyperbole leveled at liberals has made these two camps so wary of each other, so hostile and confrontational and disrespectful on both sides they have forgotten that we are first Americans. I am asking all of us, on both sides, to take one step back from the edge, than another step and another… however many it takes to get back to the place where we are all Americans. Different…different, imperfect, diverse, but one nation, indivisible.

This cycle of tragedy-driven hatred must stop, because so much more connects us than that which divides us because tragedy has been, and will always be with us. Somewhere right now, evil people are planning evil things. All of us will do everything meaningful, everything we can do to prevent it, but each horrible act can’t become an ax for opportunists to cleave the very Bill of Rights that binds us. America must stop this predictable pattern of reaction. When an isolated, terrible event like 9/11 occurs, a group is chosen for blame. Right now, it’s American Muslims. Why? Because their story needs a villain. They want someone to play the heavy in their drama of packaged grief. To provide riveting programming to run between commercials for cars and cat food.

The dirty secret of this day and age is that political gain and media ratings all to often bloom on fresh graves. I remember a better day, where no one dared politicize or profiteer on trauma. Simply being silent is so often the right thing to do. But today, carnage comes with a catchy title, splashy graphics, regular promos and a reactionary passage of legislation. Reporters perch like vultures on the balconies of hotels for a hundred miles around. Cameras jockey for shocking angles as news anchors race to drench their microphones with the tears of victims.

Injury, shock, grief and despair shouldn’t be brought to you by sponsors. That’s pornography. It trivializes the tragedy it abuses. It abuses vulnerable people, and maybe worst of all, it makes the unspeakable seem commonplace. And Muslims are being cast as the villain. That is not their role in American society, and they should not be forced to play it.

Our mission should be to remain a steady beacon of strength and support for the First Amendment. We cannot, we must not let tragedy lay waste to the most rare, and hard-won human right in history. A nation cannot gain safety by giving up freedom. This truth is older than our country. Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Reactions? –Though if you have a pat answer, hold back and give others a chance to express themselves thoughtfully.

Categories: Political Ranting Tags:

The 17th Amendment

July 13th, 2010 5 comments

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years…

There’s a push from right-wingers to repeal the 17th, along with some other amendments as well, not to mention some new amendments they want added. Curious, as the right wing has also been busy of late bashing Obama, Kagan, and Thurgood Marshall for saying that the Constitution, when written, was an “imperfect document.” Strange that they wish to tinker so with perfection.

In any case, I was curious as to why they 17th was a sore point with them. What’s wrong with the people electing senators directly? Well, according to the groups who want this, if the people elect senators directly, that means that the individual has less power. The only way to empower the individual is to take away their right to vote for a senator and put it into the hands of the state legislature. That makes sens–wait, huh? What?

Well, they do seem to have a point: they say that since public elections are driven by money, that means that senators don’t really listen to individuals from their state, and instead give their full time and attention to corporations who fund their elections. OK, fair enough, as far as it goes–but I don’t really see it as being that big a difference.

First, you have the illusion of a state legislator or a congressman paying more attention to you simply because they have smaller constituencies and they must be elected more often. But do they really pay any more attention to you than they do their financial backers, or does it just seem that way?

Second, the link between you and your senator through your legislator would still be removed. Your local legislators would have their own agendas, no doubt, and if they truly controlled the senators, they would be just as wont to abuse the power as anyone else. Not to mention that there would still be plenty of chances for others to get in the way. And that leads to the third objection to the change: money follows power. Instead of dealing out the money men, the money men would simply move to sway state legislators instead of senators directly, and you’d be back at square one.

No, there’s only one way to attack corruption of this kind, and that’s to directly address the issue of money and elections. Two things need to be changed–more descriptively, two obscenities must be erased from the law books. First, the concept that a corporation is an individual and has the same rights as one. The individual rights of a corporation rest in the rights of the people who make it up; the corporation itself is a legal fiction to serve an economic purpose. Giving corporations personhood creates super-powerful “individuals” whose psychological makeup is, by nature, that of a sociopath. The fact that they control large amounts of money and thus power in our government is at the heart of what is what is most wrong with us today.

The second obscenity is the concept that money equals free speech. No it doesn’t. If money equals free speech, then we live in a plutocracy. And that’s the current legal status. If money is free speech, then anyone who makes more money instantly has more power, which goes against the very idea of a republic which practices the principles of democracy:

Republic: a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.

In theory, a republic could be consistent with a plutocracy, but that’s not what we were brought up to believe. Maybe democracy has always been a fiction to placate us, but if we’re even going to pretend, then we must hold that the idea of money being equal to speech is poison to what we believe in.

What we need to do is to change politics in two ways, and they have to be doozies. The first is to limit the way elections are funded. The only money that should be allowed in an election must come from individual citizens and nowhere else. And each citizen may contribute no more than $20 to any one election (including their own–no personal fortunes) or specific issue. Why $20? Because more than that and the money of one individual starts to outweigh the money of others who cannot afford it. Either that, or do away with contributions altogether and make elections funded completely by the federal government. Whichever the case, the idea is to prevent large donations from making their way to politicians and thus corrupting the system.

The second way is the real game changer: political advertisements. This is where “speech” really comes into it. And this may require an amendment to that holiest of amendments, the First Amendment itself. Like it or not, political advertising sways elections, and those advertisements are bought with money. It must be made so that public advertisements which impact elections, either on issues or candidates, must be regulated. Not forbidden, but limited to those funded by the people directly. Each advertisement can only be funded by individuals giving no more than $20 each. Remember above, I mentioned the $20 limit applying not just to candidates but to issues as well; this is what I was talking about.

What’s more, the ads can only be paid for by groups that specifically assemble for the purpose of representing such issues or candidates; you can’t have unions or organizations assembled for any other purpose doing it, else you have people who gave money for something else suddenly finding their money spent on something they disagree with.

Again, either this, or nothing–no ads at all, and we assert the right to use the public airwaves, allowing politicians to make speeches, give presentations, and have debates for specified blocks of time. This does not obliterate free speech–in fact, many countries do it. In Japan, where I live, that’s how it’s done–no campaign commercials. Other countries limit advertising as well. It may go against the grain of free and unfettered speech, but it is the only way to remove the worst of poisons from the system.

Is this a curtailing of free speech? In a way, yes–but in a very fundamental way, no. Because free speech is not supposed to be about rich people having more say or a louder say than anyone else–it is supposed to be about all people having the right to say whatever they want, whenever or wherever they want. But the central principle of that is that everyone is equal, and money playing a part destroys that essential equality. The system I describe above would not prevent anyone from speaking freely–it would only prevent a few from drowning out the rest simply because they have more money than others.

We’ll never get around money buying power. Rich people will still own and control newspapers and media networks, and there are other ways to use money to influence the people as well. But just because money will always have a say doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do our damnedest to limit what influence it does have.

Categories: Corruption, Political Ranting Tags:

The Difference Four Years Can Make

June 22nd, 2010 Comments off

So, Republicans have been going on and on about how the Deepwater Horizon disaster is Obama’s fault, calling it “Obama’s Katrina” and “Obama’s 9/11” and so on. They have been carping at every element of his reaction, real or imagined.

But to appreciate the situation better, ask this question: how would the situation have been different if it had happened 4 years ago, during the Bush administration? What would Bush have done differently? Even more to the point, 4 years ago, Republicans controlled both houses of Congress as well.

There would probably be zero difference in actually dealing with the spill; Bush, at that point, would not have dawdled like he did with Katrina, not again. Not that he would have in the first place–he let New Orleans drown because he didn’t really see them as a constituency, not really. But an oil issue? That’s something he would not hesitate to recognize. As much as it resonates that Bush screwed everything up, the actual technical response to the spill would probably be the same–the good and the bad. Someone correct me if I’m wrong here.

No, the main difference would be in the political response. If Congress had hearings, they certainly would have been much more forgiving and tolerant of BP than Congress is today; they might even had tried to make them closed-door, or otherwise shield BP from too much bad exposure. And do you really believe that Bush would have pressured BP to make $20 billion available? Nope. The U.S. taxpayer would be footing the whole bill, you betcha. Barton’s apology to BP would be closer to the federal government’s approach in general, instead of now being the pariah’s view.

Helps to put things in perspective.

Oh, and before a right-winger tries to bring up the “Jones Act” BS that Fox News is trying to push as an Obama debacle, read this:

46 USC 55113 – Use of foreign documented oil spill response vessels

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an oil spill response vessel documented under the laws of a foreign country may operate in waters of the United States on an emergency and temporary basis, for the purpose of recovering, transporting, and unloading in a United States port oil discharged as a result of an oil spill in or near those waters, if

(1) an adequate number and type of oil spill response vessels documented under the laws of the United States cannot be engaged to recover oil from an oil spill in or near those waters in a timely manner, as determined by the Federal On-Scene Coordinator for a discharge or threat of a discharge of oil; and

(2) the foreign country has by its laws accorded to vessels of the United States the same privileges accorded to vessels of the foreign country under this section.

Categories: Political Ranting Tags:

Show Us the Money

March 12th, 2010 4 comments

Obama is doing the only really reasonable thing with the $1.4 million he’s getting in Nobel Prize winnings: he’s giving it to charities. The list:

— the Fisher House $250,000
— the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund $250,000
— the College Summit $125,000
— the Posse Foundation $125,000
— the United Negro College Fund $125,000
— the Hispanic Scholarship Fund $125,000
— the Appalachian Leadership and Education Foundation $125,000
— the American Indian College Fund $125,000
— AfriCare $100,000
— Central Asia Institute $100,000

As I thought about how it might have looked had he kept the money, what instantly came to mind was: Sarah Palin. Had she (so impossibly as to be hilarious) won the prize, she would have announced that she would give the money to charity, given no details about it, and then we would never hear about it again while she quietly pocketed the money. It’s gauche when a former politician whores around for any money they can get; for a hopeful politician to do so is pretty ugly.


Categories: Political Ranting, The Lighter Side Tags:


March 8th, 2010 4 comments

Being a liberal has been somewhat disheartening lately. We expected that we would have a revolutionary progressive in the White House making our hopes comes true, but instead got a compromising technocrat even more willing to appease Republicans than Clinton ever was. We expected a supermajority, but got a Congress that couldn’t pass much of anything. We expected solid opposition, but thought they could be splintered just enough to make a difference. So, many of us came to the conclusion that the Democrats were not what we thought they were, that they failed. Seeing little hope, the progressives started losing interest in the elections coming this Fall.

Big mistake. If anything, we should be galvanized, ready to fight even harder than the last election–and with good cause, because this coming midterm election could mean a whole lot more.

First of all, our expectations were way too high. We should have known that Obama was no flaming liberal. Yes, the right-wingers painted him that way, but they would have claimed that Ronald Reagan himself was the most liberal commie socialist ever had he risen from the grave, switched parties, and ran as the Democratic candidate. The Democrat on the ticket could be espousing every right-wing goal imaginable, it wouldn’t make a difference. They claim any Democratic candidate, in every election, is “the most liberal ever.” Not only that, but one of Obama’s big selling points, if you recall, was that he liked finding middle ground, he wanted to compromise as a way of reaching consensus and getting things done. So expecting him to push the nation far to the left was unrealistic.

Then there was Congress. Once Specter had switched and Al Franken’s seat was finally confirmed, we thought we had a super-majority and could sweep in any law we wanted to. Well, that was a stupid assumption. One of those 60 votes was Lieberman, who campaigned for John McCain; to expect him to vote with the Democrats on anything the Republicans pushed hard against was folly indeed. And even not counting him, many of the new Democrats won precisely because they were conservative Democrats, winning conservative states where they would have to pander to conservative sensibilities. We never had 60% in the crucial bottleneck of the Senate; at best we had just over a simple majority, at least when it comes to the controversial stuff.

And then there was Republican opposition. We knew that they would push, but I don’t think that anyone foresaw just how fantastically monolithic and almost hysterically powerful that opposition would be. They pulled no punches and did not give a moment’s hesitation in fear that their total obstructionist frenzy could work against them. With the fanatical single-mindedness usually seen only in the most feverish of zealots, they not only obstructed but poured out a tidal wave of unprecedented, unadulterated hatred and invective, issuing against the president–at all levels low and high–every pejorative one could imagine being used publicly.

With a centrist president, much less than the needed supermajority in Congress, and fanatical obstructionist opposition from the right wing, there was never a chance for much to get done. We should have seen this from examples of the past. At, we get this chart showing the majorities that FDR and LBJ had during formative years that trended to the liberal. Note that they usually had well over 60% majorities in the Senate, while the House was always above the 50% needed there.


In short, to get even part of a meaningful agenda done, we’re gong to need more than we got before. Becoming disheartened and turning away from the polls is nothing short of self-destructive, especially as the right-wingers, tasting Democratic defeat and still possessed of whipped-up, galvanized, angry mobs of tea-bagging fanaticism, are looking at strong showings at the polls this coming November.

We have little hope of gaining the seats we need to get the things we want done. But to give up and lose seats–maybe hand Republicans a simple majority in either house, all they would need to make their scorched-earth goals total and irrevocable–would be just plain dumb.

The Democrats, for all of their weak-kneed, wavering ineptitude, never really had a chance. There were too many Blue Dogs, too much solidarity and hysteria from the right, and not enough single-minded Bush-like drive or disregard for the risks from the White House for this to work.

Had FDR faced this, the New Deal would never have passed. Had LBJ been given these numbers, neither Medicare nor the Civil Rights legislation he got through would have stood a chance.

We fooled ourselves into thinking that we had the numbers to get things done. We were wrong. We weren’t even close. Not just one more vote, but probably five more votes in the Senate may have done the job. As weak-kneed as the Dems have been, that wasn’t what broke the deal. They could have been bolder and stronger and still failed. All that was needed was for Lieberman to vote “no,” and that would be that.

That’s what we have to keep in mind in upcoming elections: More. We need more. We need to galvanize, to get out the vote. Giving up is not an option. Even at my time of greatest disgust, when I couldn’t even bear to watch any more, I knew that I would still be voting strongly, as I always will. But many have simply turned away and don’t intend to vote. If you know someone like that, make sure you turn them around. Make sure you get them their voter registration materials and egg them on to the polls in November.

Even if we don’t succeed, not losing is far better than giving up and letting these frothing, fanatical fascists take back the country and send us right back down the shaft to national self-destruction they had us falling to for the first eight years of the century.

Anthrax Closure, At Least Officially

February 20th, 2010 4 comments

The FBI has officially closed the case on the Anthrax letter case. As you may recall, letters with anthrax were sent to news agencies and the offices of ranking Democratic senators beginning one week after 9/11, killing five people and exposing 17 more. The FBI eventually concluded that it was solely attributable to one scientist working at a military lab.

While I do not doubt that the lab was the source of the anthrax, I do have my doubts about whether it was the work of this individual. As you may recall, the day after the 9/11 attack, the Bush administration was focused on pinning the attacks on Iraq, despite knowing that al Qaeda was the responsible party and that they were neither working from Iraq, nor even on good terms with that country.

The chances are, it was the work of an individual, possibly but not certainly the accused researcher, who wanted to carry out the attacks for whatever reasons an individual can imagine. However, it is difficult to ignore the fact that the anthrax attacks played right into the hands of politicians, making the 9/11 attacks seem like part of a larger plot, and providing the grounds upon which to base an invasion of Iraq, something that the Bush administration wanted from day one. Now, the 9/11 attacks themselves did this as well, but that does not mean the Bush administration was behind them. But the timing, nature, and especially the source of the anthrax attacks makes it more difficult to completely count out the possibility that, soon after 9/11, someone high up concluded that it would help their cause to have something like this happen. It could be just coincidence that the timing was right, that the nature of the attack–biological weapons–was something Iraq was highly suspected of, and that a government facility was the source of the material. But when coincidences start piling up, so do suspicions.

Of course, the conspiracy-theory elements of this assure the fact that no one in power or in any position of influence in the media would even dream of forwarding this theory. But knowing what we do about what the government will do (torture at a black site at Guantanamo) and how convoluted such secret operations are (profits from illegal sales of weapons to Iran used to fund counterinsurgencies in Central America), to completely rule out this scenario would be stupid. Such things do happen.

Did they happen here? I would be stunned if we ever knew for sure. All we do know is that the answer that the FBI is “satisfied” with is far from air-tight.

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Oh, If Only

January 26th, 2010 2 comments

But as I explained recently, this will never happen.


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You Get What You Deserve

January 26th, 2010 10 comments

All indications now seem to point to Republicans picking up at least 4 or 5 Senate seats and who knows how many House seats come the midterm elections.

Let me see if I understand the causal chain correctly:

  1. Republicans spent the last eight years in power trashing the economy, starting quagmire wars, and generally mismanaging things so badly that most people agreed they sucked
  2. Obama elected because people want change
  3. Obama and Democrats get to work addressing major problems: economy, health care, etc.; early results were startlingly good as stimulus sharply reversed job losses, and large majority wanted some form of health care reform
  4. Republicans throw biggest hissy fit in memory, rage with over-the-top histrionics, throwing about outrageously obvious lies like “Obama’s creating death panels to kill your grandparents”
  5. Republicans throw 100% of their weight in obstructionist effort to grind business to a halt for the openly stated reason of wanting the president to fail so they can gain politically from it
  6. People respond by thinking Obama is doing a bad job and reward Republicans with election victories and more power

Whatever low opinion I had of Joe Voter just dropped through the floor. I know that the Dems have been more than a bit weak-kneed and ineffective in doing what they’re doing, but at least they were intent on doing well for the country, and no matter how bad they may have been, they are far more preferable than what the Republicans have to offer. It’s as if the people have completely forgotten about what happened the past ten years, and like gullible saps, are willing to believe just about anything the right-wing propaganda machine feeds them. I mean, really, does anyone believe that giving Republicans more power will result in more action being taken? Exactly the opposite: get ready for Obstructionism on Steroids as the GOP sets its sights on taking the White House in 2012.

If Americans are so astonishingly stupid as a group, then I suppose we get what we deserve.

Point Taken

January 24th, 2010 Comments off

I have kind of cut myself off from politics recently as it was just too stressful and held little if any hope of ending happily. While I was looking the other way, somehow a Democrat lost Ted kennedy’s seat to a Republican, the people of Massachusetts apparently believing that (a) Obama was spending too much time on health care instead of helping people without jobs (hopefully I won’t have to explain how immensely wrong and stupid that idea is), that (b) the correct response would be to scuttle health care which is effectively what they did, and that (c) somehow this was not the fault of the Republicans who have done their best to crap on the people of the United States, and therefore they should be rewarded with a fantastic victory and a vindication of their hateful, lie-filled obstructionism which works to deprive the American people of health and livelihood.

In short, I am glad that I missed all of that.

Had I been around and watching closely, I probably would have become as angry and calloused as Keith Olbermann did, when he called Scott Brown “an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, teabagging supporter of violence against women and against politicians with whom he disagrees.”

Note the slim difference between an accurate description of Republicans (say, at the end of my first paragraph in this post) and the over-the-top description Olbermann offered. They are “hateful,” not a doubt about that; they lie constantly, something that has been well-documented on this blog and in many other places; they are obstructionist, obviously so; they clearly wish to support insurance companies and big pharma at the expense of the people and leave them without adequate health care; and whether they intend to or not, they have made it far more difficult for people to find work at livable wages. All these are substantial facts. But Olbermann stretched way too far with allegations like “supporting violence against women”; I saw that clip, and Brown either didn’t hear the curling iron comment or just ignored it.

John Stewart, in an excellent example of how he makes fun of all people who deserve it and is not just a leftist taking partisan stabs at right-wingers (right-wingers simply provide far more material for him), did a longish segment pillorying Olbermann for that comment and the rationalization he gave in a later broadcast.

Now, had someone like Rush Limbaugh or really any of the gasbags on the right been subjected to this attack, they would either have ignored it or argued with it. Olbermann, however, aired the segment in its entirety on his own show, and then after a bit of lame humor, ended with a refreshingly truthful and humble statement for a political talking head of this day and age: “I have been a little over the top lately. Point taken. Sorry.”

True, he could clarify better that he is being ironic with the “a little” over the top comment, but even if he were serious about the degree, it’s still a lot more humility than any other partisan commenter I can think of. Watch the whole segment:

Maybe I’ll start watching again next week.

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The Tyranny of the Right-Wing Minority

January 3rd, 2010 1 comment

Remind me: why do we even have a Senate?

Oh yeah, it was one of those archaic compromises made at the time of the revolution, when individual states had more relevance than they have today. Back then, there were separate colonies, almost like separate nations, which jockeyed for power in the newly formed union. Originally, the plan was for both houses to be proportional to population, but the smaller states threatened to pull out if that were the case. Thus we were saddled with the “Great Compromise,” giving disproportionate power to conservative inhabitants of low-population states–a compromise which was the twin sister to the infamous Three-fifths Compromise, which degradingly counted blacks as 60% of a person each (and itself was a further power grab by the slave-owning conservatives, who hypocritically tried to claim that slaves should both be property and should be counted as people with political representation). And we’ve been “compromising” to the conservative minority ever since.

In the U.S., there has always been a disproportionate amount of power in the hands of the low-population states, which tend to be the most backward and conservative; we still suffer from that today. There is no good reason to give these states more power, at least none that make up for the harm the setup causes. Add the warped and demented way that the conservatives are now using the filibuster (they’re breaking records in abusing it, again), and we see an incredibly disproportionate and most decidedly undemocratic tilt in favor of right-wingers. If you live in a small state, your vote counts much more than that of a person from a large state. How is that fair or Democratic? Answer: it’s not. Never has been.

Party IdSo much could be improved by electing the president by popular vote and by either repealing the Senate or changing it to reflect actual population. But that will never happen, because doing so would require three-fourths of all states to agree to it–requiring most of the low-population states to agree to surrender their disproportionate power. Which is why it’ll never, ever happen. Like it or not, this power imbalance is locked in, but good.

So we are stuck in a system where a conservative minority can wield an unreasonable level of power, despite only 21% of Americans identifying themselves as Republicans, and even beyond what can be explained by their arrogant hypocrisy and the Democrats’ willingness to give in all the time. Wheee!

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December 20th, 2009 1 comment

So, what to think of the health care bill? Perhaps it could best be summed up by the word, “meh.” Having been disgusted with the bill’s progress, and, like so many other liberals, in contempt of the Democrats’ weakness and ineptitude in getting the bill passed, I have stopped paying close attention to it all. It should have been much stronger to start with. It should have been “Medicare for all” and the negotiations should have started from there. Obama should have put forth two versions, one for “bipartisanship” and the other in case Republicans didn’t want bipartisanship, and when Republicans of course showed no interest, Obama could have switched to the stronger bill, declaring that the GOP had rebuffed his bipartisan outreach. Democrats should have strong-armed the Blue Dogs more instead of begging at their feet. Democrats should have began with reconciliation instead of dumping it.

Coulda, shoulda, woulda. So how about now? As far as I can tell, the bill stinks. However, compared to the fetid, steaming pile of insurance the country now has, it stinks somewhat less. But I see no way to really keep down costs for the consumer, something even more important now that coverage will be more or less mandatory.

A big question will be, if and when it is passed, then what? Politically, I mean. Will Democrats reap the rewards? Well, they pretty much shot themselves in their collective feet on that one: everyone, including (especially!) Democratic voters, now see them as weak and ineffective. The only thing keeping Democratic voters on their side is that the alternative is to go with the batshit insane people who spent the last eight years destroying the country. I can imagine centrist voters being like Bugs Bunny in that cartoon where he opened one of two exits and sees a monster; screeching in horror, he runs for the other exit, opens it and sees another monster; screaming again, he closes that and runs to the first exit; when he opens it and sees the first monster, he rubs his chin and say, “Oh, yeah…”

The real problem here is that while Democrats have spent the last several months disheartening their own voters, the Republicans have spent the same time firing up theirs. There is that Kos poll from a few week s back which showed that while Democratic voters were not interested in voting in the midterms, right-wing voters couldn’t wait to do so. Not a good sign.

The irony is, if Dem voters got their act together and came out just as strong and voted aven more Dems into office, that would probably break the barrier needed to bypass even the Blue Dogs and get stuff done. But the way things are, Republicans will probably gain seats, and things will just go straight to hell from there. Which is frightening, as this pretty much looks like hell now.

Sometimes I am glad I live in Japan. Makes it a bit easier to ignore this stuff. Just a bit.

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Sully Explains

December 3rd, 2009 2 comments

Andrew Sullivan, a former conservative, gives 16 reasons why he can no longer identify himself by that term. He refuses to tag himself as a liberal, either (I would be interested to see his 16 reasons why not for that). But here’s an interesting challenge for people who still calls themselves conservatives, and still want to vote for the Republican Party: can you address these 16 reasons, without simply denying their truth, and give a justification and defense of each? And if not, how can you still support conservatism? I really would like to know.

I cannot support a movement that claims to believe in limited government but backed an unlimited domestic and foreign policy presidency that assumed illegal, extra-constitutional dictatorial powers until forced by the system to return to the rule of law.

I cannot support a movement that exploded spending and borrowing and blames its successor for the debt.

I cannot support a movement that so abandoned government’s minimal and vital role to police markets and address natural disasters that it gave us Katrina and the financial meltdown of 2008.

I cannot support a movement that holds torture as a core value.

I cannot support a movement that holds that purely religious doctrine should govern civil political decisions and that uses the sacredness of religious faith for the pursuit of worldly power.

I cannot support a movement that is deeply homophobic, cynically deploys fear of homosexuals to win votes, and gives off such a racist vibe that its share of the minority vote remains pitiful.

I cannot support a movement which has no real respect for the institutions of government and is prepared to use any tactic and any means to fight political warfare rather than conduct a political conversation.

I cannot support a movement that sees permanent war as compatible with liberal democratic norms and limited government.

I cannot support a movement that criminalizes private behavior in the war on drugs.

I cannot support a movement that would back a vice-presidential candidate manifestly unqualified and duplicitous because of identity politics and electoral cynicism.

I cannot support a movement that regards gay people as threats to their own families.

I cannot support a movement that does not accept evolution as a fact.

I cannot support a movement that sees climate change as a hoax and offers domestic oil exploration as the core plank of an energy policy.

I cannot support a movement that refuses ever to raise taxes, while proposing no meaningful reductions in government spending.

I cannot support a movement that refuses to distance itself from a demagogue like Rush Limbaugh or a nutjob like Glenn Beck.

I cannot support a movement that believes that the United States should be the sole global power, should sustain a permanent war machine to police the entire planet, and sees violence as the core tool for international relations.

Does this make me a “radical leftist” as Michelle Malkin would say? Emphatically not. But it sure disqualifies me from the current American right.

To paraphrase Reagan, I didn’t leave the conservative movement. It left me.

Terms: You must confront all 16, and not just pick and choose which ones you want to defend.

I would, in all seriousness, be just as interested in taking a whack at the opposite with a list of things wrong with liberalism, given a list of reasons similarly grounded in fact. For example, “I cannot support a movement so tepid in resolve that it would allow itself to be subverted or steamrolled so easily,” or “I cannot support a movement which would accept a womanizer and adulterer as a popular, successful president”–though I would hope there would be more cutting, vital reasons than just those.

Another, somewhat less eloquent list of reasons for leaving conservatism at Little Green Footballs.

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NY-23 Was the Key Race–Made So by the Tea-Bagging Faction Themselves

November 7th, 2009 Comments off

I know I’m not the only one asking this, but why are Congressional Democrats so embarrassed, even scared silly, at the special election results? Sure, two important states’ governorships went to the GOP–but those wins have far less to do with the Health Care Reform bill than the Congressional elections on the same day, especially the NY-23 race–and Dems won both.

The governorships were actually pretty meaningless for the health care debate. One was in Virginia, a red state that Democrats had been lucky enough to win from the GOP for a while; Republican McDonnell led Deeds by an 8-point margin all the way back from early this year, when Obama was still highly popular and Virginians had turned out to elect Obama. Any Democrat who frets over Virginia is apparently under the delusion that the state had somehow turned blue, against all indications. Just because Montana has Democratic Senators and a Dem Governor doesn’t make it a blue state, any more than Alaska’s Dem governor makes that a blue state, or Schwarzenegger makes California a red state. It’s just that in Virginia, we ran out of strong Democratic gubernatorial candidates; it was going to happen eventually.

New Jersey was more of a biting defeat for Dems, but aside from all the mitigating circumstances (various economic problems blamed on the incumbent, an association with Wall Street, etc.), it is important to remember that governors don’t vote in Congress, and voters understand that–in a governor, they are looking for a manager, not someone to represent their political views. Governorships commonly have less to do with party politics than other elected officials.

Democrats have to realize that these two elections, while high-profile, have little or no impact on the current congressional situation. No matter what the GOP hacks claim, these two elections had nothing to do with health care, nor were they any kind of referendum on Obama. There are simply no facts or figures which support this.

On the other hand, there were two other elections that day–both for House seats–which were of far greater significance. One was in NY-23, the other in CA-10. the CA-10 race, being won by a Democrat in a relatively strong blue district, was of lesser importance; there was not much chance that any kind of upset would happen there.

But NY-23 was a district that has been deeply right-wing since before the Civil War; it was the epitome of a conservative “safe seat.” And more significantly, it became the very essence of tea-bagging: the moderate conservative was ousted by sharply conservative carpet-baggers, bringing in a ringer from the outside, imposing the deeply partisan party line and insisting that a highly political statement be made. In short, the partisan conservatives, in particular the ones attacking health care reform, made NY-23 exactly about being a referendum on their politics. They must have figured that this was a safe place to do so–they could shove their candidate down the throats of the locals, and because it was a safe seat, they could win easily, then claim victory and a referendum supporting their values.

But they lost. In a district which Republicans usually win by huge margins, 30% or better, the conservative candidate lost by 4%.

Governorships have far less to do with issues like the Health Care Reform bill than any other significant political office, and the CA-10 house seat was a safe Dem seat, won safely. NY-23 was the big test, because the tea-bagging conservatives made it so.

Democrats should understand that very clear, simple message. And so should the conservatives.

Whining Crybabies

September 21st, 2009 Comments off

Poor widdle Fox News… dey got snubbed by big bad brezident Obama! Waaaahhhhh!!!!!!!

Obama went on a media campaign blitz around the Sunday-morning news show circuit today to push health care reform, visiting Face the Nation, Meet the Press (NBC), State of the Union (CNN), This Week (ABC), and Al Punto (Univision), in addition to 60 Minutes and David Letterman, and a few other appearances.

Fox News got left out. And now they’re going into full-force whining mode, with Chris Wallace appearing on O’Reilly’s show, complaining that the Obama administration is “the biggest bunch of crybabies I have dealt with in my 30 years in Washington.”

Oh, please. First of all, Chris, you’re the one who’s being a crybaby; the definition of that term is someone who complains like a child because they feel they’ve been wronged. The administration’s not being a crybaby–they didn’t whine when you snubbed them by not airing the president’s speeches (never did that with Bush, did you?), and now they’re just deciding not to visit your show. The only one whining is you. And this is not the first time, either–you guys do this every single time it looks like Fox News might not get treated like the news organization they’re not. When Democrats say they’re not going to let the propaganda arm of their political opponents run their debates, you whine about how they’re “afraid” of you and how they’re destroying journalism.

Face up to it, you schmucks: you chose to be the propaganda arm of the Republican Party, you take every chance you get to smear and attack and lie and fearmonger, you call the president a fascist and a Nazi and worse, you organize political events where the president’s life is threatened and crazies sport signs with racial epithets, you refuse to carry the president’s speeches and addresses while all the other networks run them… and guess what? Sometimes the president won’t appear on your talk shows so you can snub him in person. Surprise!

When Bush was president and you did nothing but carry water for him, you guys got the lion’s share of exclusives. That’s the deal you made. Live with it and stop acting like infants.

The Party Is Not the Mindset

September 20th, 2009 Comments off

Based on a recent poll, a graphical breakdown of support for the Republican shows a daunting picture for the GOP:


The thing to note, however, is that this does not reflect a decrease in conservatism, but rather a decrease in support for the GOP as the party contracts into a tight, densely-packed ball of, shall we say, people with a dislike for certain attributes of our current president. In the meantime, the GOP is alienating most other people–but it is not really turning them away from their values.

One effect of this is Blue-dog Democrats, which one might say are DINOs (Democrats in name only), people like Max Baucus who joined the Democratic Party perhaps as much for strategic campaign reasons than because of their policy stands. That’s one of the drawbacks of big-tent politics: you have members of Congress in your party who, while a minority, can still throw a wrench in the works and cause things like health care reform to get mucked up. While Democrats enjoy a majority, Republicans at least have party unity.

Fact is, American government has been mostly conservative since Reagan took office. Clinton and Obama both are moderate Democrats, centrists really–decidedly not the full-out liberals that right-wingers have ranted about–while Reagan and Bush 43 were strong conservatives. Actual liberals have not had a president of their own for a long time (actually, have we ever had a president?)–which makes us the only large constituency not to have been fully represented in recent history. Right-wingers and moderates have been getting more of their fill, while the liberal third of the country has had to enjoy pseudo-representation and compromised crumbs falling off the edge of the table.

We’re the ones who are tolerant–we’ll be satisfied if things are simply balanced between all parties and will sometimes tilt our way. Look at Sotomayor–a centrist judge, far from the real liberal warrior that the left wing would like to have–but we’re OK with it. The third at the other end of the spectrum, however, as we have seen amply demonstrated, go completely fracking apeshit when things even look like they might be anything less than exactly what they want. And we are discovering that having mass tantrums like mobs of infants actually translates into getting a lot of what you want–if nothing else, it certainly helps weight the scales. It’s amazing, really–you like to think that Americans can be responsible, mature, tolerant adults, but about a third of the nation starts whining like babies when everything doesn’t go their way. We saw this during the Bush administration when Republicans were furious that Democrats didn’t let every single Bush nominee get confirmed.

I like to call that the coffee-cup effect, based on the classic story of a conservative woman during the deep-red days of the Bush era, when all the branches of government and almost all of the media were strongly on her side, but she claimed that she felt under-represented in life because most of her Starbucks coffee cups bore quotes she disagreed with.

Like it or not, as much as the GOP continues to implode, despite the majority that Democrats now have in Congress, as much as liberals like to hope that Obama will serve them, and as much as conservatives scream about how excessively liberal Obama is, the fact is that only centrist or conservative interests will be addressed. Health care reform, for example, is a centrist concern. If this were truly a liberal campaign, it would be about making a universal, government-run, single-payer health care system; it would not be about whether or not the public option is something we can do without.

For all the hoopla and all the “D”s we see after politicians’ names today, the truth is that liberals have virtually no hope of getting their core concerns addressed in a manner that they would prefer.

Can They Just Not Help It?

August 27th, 2009 Comments off

Let it not be said that right-wingers are not respectful to the dead. In their own, dark, twisted, hateful way, that is. While a few tasteful right-wing blogs simply noted Senator Edward Kennedy’s passing and added a quiet “Rest in Peace” (I have found no prominent right-wing blogger who posted only positive comments beyond the simple RIP), and a few more waited several minutes after a quiet respectful post to begin eviscerating his legacy, many simply began tearing into him right on the spot. The less honest bloggers couched it in terms that made it sound like they were being all respectful and solemn, while at the same time being their usual asinine selves.

Here is the always-charming Michelle Malkin on the death of Ted Kennedy:

The U.S. Senator from Massachusetts succumbed to brain cancer at the age of 77 tonight. Put aside your ideological differences for an appropriate moment and mark this passing with solemnity.

There is a time and place for political analysis and criticism. Not now.

Yes, there will be a nauseating excess of MSM hagiographies and lionizations — and crass calls to pass the health care takeover to memorialize his death.

That’s no excuse to demonstrate the same lack of restraint in the other direction. Not now.

Even as she ‘urges’ others not to do political analysis and criticism, she herself immediately does exactly that, slipping in not only criticisms of Kennedy himself–as if he does not deserve recognition for his long service–but insinuations of a Liberal Media™ giving him far more than his due. As I said, charming.

Redstate didn’t even try to be uncritical, couching their hatred only in recognition of tradition:

It is traditional, upon the passing of an important and famous person – however controversial – to find some good words to say. This is not an easy task in the case of Ted Kennedy, a man whose personal life ranged from alcoholism to debauchery to sexual harrassment [sic] to (sadly, uncharged) second-degree murder, and whose public career entailed the embrace of nearly every foolish, ruinous and cruel political idea of the past five decades and whose most enduring legacy is installing the bitterly polarized modern Supreme Court confirmation process.

But a few words are nonetheless in order to recognize the man’s work.

“News”Busters was predictably snide:

Expect many, many kind words about the “royal family” and so on to come. It’s clear that Kennedy was a historic figure in the Senate and an inspirational leader for American liberalism. We’ll be watching for statements (like the NBC anchor’s) that don’t ring true.

InstaPundit, like so many in the right wing, immediately began harping on the “Wellstone Effect.”

Outside the Beltway reprinted several media obits, and then gave their comment:

That the Chappaquiddick scandal didn’t make the first several paragraphs — or even first page — of several of these obits is quite remarkable. It would be like writing an obit for Richard Nixon that didn’t mention Watergate or one for Michael Jackson that glossed over repeated allegations of pedophilia.

Have they forgotten their shameful and shameless politicization of Reagan’s death just five years ago, how they tried to use it to boost their 2004 election results?

And in case you were wondering, the liberal bloggers generally showed respect without hate. Here’s Josh Marshall speaking only of a “revered” president, Kevin Drum linking to an article detailing what liberals admired him for. The only snide post I could find among left-wingers at the announcement of Reagan’s death was on the always-rabid DailyKos. And even when you compare the liberals criticisms just after Reagan’s death to conservative criticisms after Kennedy’s, there is a stark difference: liberals restrained their criticisms to politics and legacy, whereas most right-wing attacks on Kennedy after his death have been on his person and character, most notably accusing him of murder at Chappaquiddick, and for drinking and womanizing.

In general, liberals were immeasurably more respectful when the shoe was on the other foot. Sure, we criticized quite a bit in the days following. But for the most part, we bowed our heads and showed actual respect on the day.

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