WELCOME TO THE 2014 ELECTION! “IT’S ON AND POPPIN’!”

Two weeks removed from national election, that re-elected President Barack Obama, the 2014 mid-term elections are “on and poppin’.”  I wonder if the Democratic Party has sufficiently learned from the debacle of 2010.

It is obvious that the Republican’s have not learned any lessons from this last election season, so the test is, will the Democratic Party stand by what they profess and force the Republican Party to stand by their failed logic, and their total disdain for the American people, and the election process, that returned the President to office, and gained seats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives for them?

At stake, for the Democrats, at the national level, is a possible re-taking of the House of Representatives and gaining a filibuster-proof Senate.  At the local level there are several “red-state” Governorship’s and State Legislatures in play.

From what I’ve read, the assault on women’s reproductive choices, by Republicans, has resumed with refreshed attempts around the country to try to circumvent Roe v. Wade, using the states as their primary vehicle.  The war on the uninsured and the poor is advancing with Republican Governor’s rejecting certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Provisions such as the “insurance exchanges” for entrepreneurs and small businesses with less than 50 employees, and refusing to expand Medicaid services for individuals and families living at or near poverty levels, and the poor.

Yogi Berra said it best, “It’s like deja vu all over again.”

As for the battle over reproductive choices, that’s a battle Democrat’s and Progressives should welcome.  A true conservative court will stand by the rights of the individual against the state.  A Republican court will not.  Chief Justice Roberts has shown, with his decision on the ACA, that he does not want his court to be branded as the “Republican Court.”  Notwithstanding some of the other Justices, it is my belief that the right’s of the individual will prevail.  We’ve seen that already with laws like “stand your ground,” and “open carry” laws, for guns.  We just have to be prepared, and willing to fight for what’s right.

Now, about the ACA.  Caught inside the Republican bubble, they believed that the President would not be re-elected, they believed that the ACA would not stand constitutional muster, they believed that their party would win the Senate and increase their majority in the House.  After the ACA was upheld by the SCOTUS, they believed that, when elected, a Romney/Ryan administration would repeal it, or at the least not fund or enforce it.  With this as their thinking, many of them simply did not prepare to commit to the exchanges by the deadline.  They also knew that the Federal government would step in and create the exchanges if they fail to do so.

As you know, the Medicaid expansion provision will mean approximately 17 millions people will receive coverage they otherwise would not have, and will mean the hiring or re-hiring of thousands of people nationwide, to handle the increased case loads.  The Republican Governors, as one of their excuses, claim they cannot afford to implement the exchanges or the expansion, though the Act will pay 100% of the cost for 2 years and 90% of the cost of the expansion for many years after that.  Another excuse is that they don’t want the Federal Government interfering in their state policies.  Their reticence means that millions will not be covered and thousands of jobs will not be made available, simply, because of their politics.

That being said, [this] becomes a prime opportunity for Democratic candidates as they begin their campaigns.  Many of November’s winning Democratic Party candidates ran on these very issues.  I wouldn’t wait another minute in these “Red States,” to force the Republican politicians, from the state legislatures to the Congress, to declare where they stand, on the record, about these issues, and challenge them publicly, about their stance.

These red states are among the most in need of the ACA and their Governor’s, State Houses, and Congressmen and women, should be forced to explain to their constituents why Obamacare is not being made available to them.  At the same time, the “Blue State Governments” should boldly tout the advantages of the Act to their constituents.  Their “red state” neighbors, seeing the benefits of the Act will challenge their leadership to comply, or opportunities will be created for Democrats to take over these State Houses and Legislatures, and to represent them in the Congress.

These are just a couple of the issues that will define this election.  There’s also Planned Parenthood, personhood, voter ID, state election laws, and much more.

We, Democrats and Progressives, must understand that we cannot relax.  2014 will be here before we know it and the race to the “mid-terms” has already begun.  It’s “ON AND POPPIN’.”

“STEELE RESOLVE”

I’m going to start by saying that there are few areas in politics where Michael Steele and I agree, particularly regarding some of the issues facing America today.  Still, I have a tremendous amount of respect for him.  The fact that he has chosen the current Republican Party, though, is one area that confounds me.  It is, at the same, time both “bewildering and admirable.”

I’ll start with “admirable.”  From the time of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency until that of  Lyndon Johnson a Democrat, African-Americans had a strong reciprocal relationship with the GOP.  With that in mind, it’s not too difficult to understand, from a historical standpoint, how he could make that choice.

Here is an excerpt from the keynote address given to the Jackson County Republicans Lincoln Day Dinner, March 4, 2006.  The speech is entitled:

“The Ship and the Sea: ‘The Party of Lincoln’ and Civil rights.”

“For 150 years, the Republican Party held high the banner of civil rights. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party defended slavery, segregation and allied itself with the Ku Klux Klan to take the vote away from black and white Republicans and terrorize them into submission. Little wonder the Democratic Party was known as the “party of the Klan” well into the 20th century. When Democrats finally embraced the cause of racial freedom in the 1960s, they were the “Johnny come latelys” of the civil rights movement, simply undoing the damage their Party had inflicted on racial minorities during the prior 100 years. We, the Party of Lincoln and Frederick Douglass and Ward Connerly, have a far better claim to civil rights but we have forgotten our own history.”

The entire speech is a must read and it can be found at George Mason University’s “History News Network.”  http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/22526.html

There is another reason that I find Michael’s choice “admirable.”  The lack of African-Americans in prominent positions of authority within the party has been a persistent point of consternation for Blacks throughout the nation, and I have to admit that seeing him being interviewed in 2008, representing the party as head of the Republican National Committee, wearing a baseball cap on occasion, speaking with occasional “street slang,” and vowing to diversify the party, and expand the republican “big tent,” offered a measure of hope that, perhaps, given the emergence of then candidate Barack Obama, the republican’s may have found the right man to counter the drift towards homogeneity the party had taken.  But alas…..

The “hip-hop chairman” image was not something that a large group within the party, ultimately, could embrace.  Still he showed tremendous “resolve” by clearly pointing out some of the problems facing his party.  He worked to find solutions to them and attempted to mitigate some of the concerns that many of those on the “far right” had with reaching out to non-members.  Despite his avowed efforts to open up the party to other African-Americans, to reach out to Latinos, to diversify the thinking on issues important to women, the “LGBT community” and other specific demographics within the electorate, all that many within his party saw was that “cap.”

After, what turned out to be, an expected loss to now President Obama in November 2008, the party decided to circle the wagons around their fundamentalist right-wing dogma, and in spite of leading, what turned out to be a remarkably successful 2010 mid-term election run for Republican candidates (the Republican’s gained 60 House seats, 7 seats in the Senate, and 7 Governorships), Michael found himself “odd (at least to their way of thinking) man out.”  In January 2011 was replaced by Reince Priebus.

For all of the party’s finger-pointing, casting aspersions upon the chairman,and, in my opinion, not giving him proper credit, one thing was true.  Michael had correctly pointed his finger at a whole host of problems, that would come back to haunt the party in ways that, though it shouldn’t have, seemed to catch them completely by surprise.

Watching and listening to Michael in the weeks leading up to the November, though it was obvious that he wasn’t surprised.  With the republicans, having moved away from their 2010 mantra of jobs, jobs, jobs to an all out assault on social programs, women’s right’s, voter suppression, anti-union efforts, their reluctance to discuss immigration reform, their fundamentalist attitude’s about marriage, his frustration with the party could be seen on his face and heard in his voice.

So, this is where the “bewilderment” comes in.

Why, given the way they treated him and the direction the party has taken, would Michael want to, again run for chairman of the RNC.  Could it be that his love for his party is greater than his disgust with what they have  become?  Could it be that what he wants is his party back?  “The Party of Lincoln?”  The party of Frederick Douglas?  The party of  Ward Connerly?  The party of Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower?  Could he want it back?

Again, I am not a Michael Steele fan.  I am, though, a fan of commitment, a fan of devotion.  It’s clear to me [that] Michael’s commitment and devotion extends “to and beyond” his party, to all of America.

So go for it, Bro.  This time, though, I hope they love you back.

“POOPY HEAD PETULANCE” (UPDATED – 11/15/12)

Thank you Grover Norquist!  You’ve given a name to our pain.  “Poopy head!”  I couldn’t have done it better.  You’ve also inspired me.  When I heard you say “poopy head” during your interview on CBS‘ “This Morning,” it sounded so childish, I thought back to another characteristic of childish behavior, “petulance.”  I thought of a little kid, falling on the floor, kicking and screaming, holding their breath, threatening to run away.  I thought about the kid on the playground that get’s mad and takes his toys and goes home.

Well, if Romney is an example of a “poopy head,” I figured there must be more of them out there like him, so I looked around, found a few that I think fit the discription, and I’ve decided to put some “poopy head’s” and some examples of “petulance” together.  Here are a few:

Petulance is whininess and irritability. Your least favorite thing about the kids you babysit might be their petulance:

“RESIDENTS IN MORE THAN A DOZEN STATES PETITION WHITE HOUSE TO SECEDE FROM UNITED STATES”  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/12/secession-petition-white-house_n_2116620.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

The noun petulance is the quality of being fretful, complaining, petty, or generally cranky:

“BUSINESS OWNER FIRED EMPLOYEES WHO VOTED FOR OBAMA”  http://www.c-spanvideo.org/clip/4141208

Petulance is not a pleasant characteristic — it’s almost always described negatively, like when you talk about the childishness and petulance of your constantly whining boss:

“PAPA JOHN’S ONLY INSURES ONE IN THREE WORKERS, BUT CEO TRIES TO BLAME OBAMACARE IT THAT DROPS”  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/11/12/1160864/-Papa-John-s-only-insures-one-in-three-workers-but-CEO-tries-to-blame-Obamacare-if-that-drops

Petulance is the condition or quality of being irritable, peevish, or impatient:

“THE OBAMACARE LAYOFFS BEGIN…”   http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/333089/obamacare-layoffs-begin-jillian-kay-melchior#

“OBAMA REELECTION TRIGGERS MASSIVE LAYOFFS ACROSS AMERICA”  http://nation.foxnews.com/2012-presidential-election/2012/11/09/obama-reelection-triggers-massive-layoffs-across-america

“OBAMA KEEPS JOB; OTHERS LOSE THEIRS”  http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/nov/11/obama-keeps-job-others-lose-theirs/

Now I know all business people are not “poopy heads.”  The same for all conservatives and republicans.  So if “the shoe don’t fit don’t wear it.”  I know there are more of them out there, though, and when I find them I’m going to call them out.  If you know of a few, leave a comment or send me an e-mail and we’ll get them posted.

(Update)

Here are some more PETULANT POOPY HEADS:”

Jennifer Anderson, Davis Ace Hardware Owner, Apologizes For Urging Employees To Vote Romney  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/12/jennifer-anderson-davis-ace-hardware-romney_n_2118825.html?ref=topbar

John Metz, Denny’s Franchisee And Hurricane Grill & Wings Owner, Imposes Surcharge For Obamacare  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/13/john-metz-hurricane-grill-wings-dennys_n_2122412.html

Impeach Obama Robocall Campaign Launched By Conservative Group  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/impeach-obama-robocall-campaign_n_2132682.html

Mitt Romney: Obama Won With ‘Gifts’ To Blacks, Hispanics, Young Voters  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/mitt-romney-obama-gifts_n_2133529.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

Applebee’s franchise owner says he’ll stop hiring because Obamacare   http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/11/13/1161321/-Applebee-s-franchise-owner-says-he-ll-stop-hiring-because-Obamacare

Thank You!  Keep the “POOPY HEADS” coming!

THANK YOU ANDREW MANIS, THANK YOU FOR ASKING “THIS” QUESTION!

Over the last week I’ve received e-mails from three people asking me to read and respond about “what a white reporter wrote in a Georgia Newspaper.  The “forward list” on all three were quite long, it looked like a mass e-mailing of sort.  After reading the article I saw that it was not so much a news article, but a piece submitted for an editorial  in the Macon Telegraph, not long after Barack Obama was first elected President.  Each e-mail said this was a “must read and pass along,” and I totally agree.

I’m going to post it for you here in its entirety.  Leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this.

Andrew M. Manis is associate professor of history at Macon State College in Georgia and wrote this for an editorial in the Macon Telegraph.

Andrew M. Manis: When Are WE Going to Get Over It?

For much of the last forty years, ever since America “fixed” its race problem in the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, we white people have been impatient with African-Americans who continued to blame race for their difficulties. Often we have heard whites ask, “When are African-Americans finally going to get over it?  Now I want to ask:

“When are we White Americans going to get over our ridiculous obsession with skin color?

Recent reports that “Election Spurs Hundreds’ of Race Threats, Crimes” should frighten and infuriate every one of us. Having grown up in “Bombingham,” Alabama in the 1960s, I remember overhearing an avalanche of comments about what many white classmates and their parents wanted to do to John and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

Eventually, as you may recall, in all three cases, someone decided to do more than “talk the talk.”

Since our recent presidential election, to our eternal shame we are once again hearing the same reprehensible talk I remember from my boyhood.

We white people have controlled political life in the disunited colonies and United States for some 400 years on this continent.

Conservative whites have been in power 28 of the last 40 years. Even during the eight Clinton years, conservatives in Congress blocked most of his agenda and pulled him to the right. Yet never in that period did I read any headlines suggesting that anyone was calling for the assassinations of presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, or either of the Bushes. Criticize them, yes.

Call for their impeachment, perhaps. But there were no bounties on their heads. And even when someone did try to kill Ronald Reagan, the perpetrator was non-political mental case who wanted merely to impress Jody Foster.

But elect a liberal who happens to be Black and we’re back in the sixties again. At this point in our history, we should be proud that we’ve proven what conservatives are always saying — that in America anything is possible, EVEN electing a black man as president.

But instead we now hear that school children from Maine to California are talking about wanting to “assassinate Obama.”

Fighting the urge to throw up, I can only ask, “How long?”

How long before we white people realize we can’t make our nation, much less the whole world, look like us?

How long until we white people can – once and for all – get over this hell-conceived preoccupation with skin color?

How long until we white people get over the demonic conviction that white skin makes us superior?

How long before we white people get over our bitter resentments about being demoted to the status of equality with non-whites?

How long before we get over our expectations that we should be at the head of the line merely because of our white skin?

How long until we white people end our silence and call out our peers when they share the latest racist jokes in the privacy of our white-only conversations?

I believe in free speech, but how long until we white people start making racist loudmouths as socially uncomfortable as we do flag burners?

How long until we white people will stop insisting that blacks exercise personal responsibility, build strong families, educate themselves enough to edit the Harvard Law Review, and work hard enough to become President of the United States, only to threaten to assassinate them when they do?

How long before we start “living out the true meaning” of our creeds, both civil and religious, that all men and women are created equal and that “red and yellow, black and white” all are precious in God’s sight?

Until this past November 4, I didn’t believe this country would ever elect an African American to the presidency. I still don’t believe I’ll live long enough to see us white people get over our racism problem.

But here’s my three-point plan:

First, everyday that Barack Obama lives in the White House that Black Slaves Built, I’m going to pray that God (and the Secret Service) will protect him and his family from us white people.

Second, I’m going to report to the FBI any white person I overhear saying, in seriousness or in jest, anything of a threatening nature about President Obama.

Third, I’m going to pray to live long enough to see America surprise the world once again, when white people can “in spirit and in truth” sing of our damnable color prejudice,

“We HAVE overcome.”

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It takes a Village to protect our President!!!

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Dr. Manis,

I appreciate you more, far more, than I can say.  How Long?  The question has been asked for so, so long.  The problem is that for so long we African-Americans have waited for someone other than us to ask the question.  For someone other than us to search for solutions.  I thank you for doing both.

Your editorial harkens back to a time when the struggle was in full force.  It was March 25, 1965 when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King asked the same question, standing on the steps of the State Capitol in Montgomery Alabama.  This was after the successful completion of the march from Selma to Montgomery.

Let’s reflect on excerpts from his speech.

“The battle is in our hands. And we can answer with creative nonviolence the call to higher ground to which the new directions of our struggle summons us. (Yes, sir)
The road ahead is not altogether a smooth one. (No)
There are no broad highways that lead us easily and inevitably to quick solutions. But we must keep going.”

“Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and understanding. We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. And that will be a day not of the white man, not of the black man. That will be the day of man as man. (Yes)”

“I know you are asking today, “How long will it take?” (Speak, sir)
Somebody’s asking, “How long will prejudice blind the visions of men, darken their understanding, and drive bright-eyed wisdom from her sacred throne?” Somebody’s asking, “When will wounded justice, lying prostrate on the streets of Selma and Birmingham and communities all over the South, be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men?” Somebody’s asking, “When will the radiant star of hope be plunged against the nocturnal bosom of this lonely night, (Speak, speak, speak) plucked from weary souls with chains of fear and the manacles of death? How long will justice be crucified, (Speak) and truth bear it?” (Yes, sir)

I come to say to you this afternoon, however difficult the moment, (Yes, sir) however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, (No sir) because “truth crushed to earth will rise again.” (Yes, sir) How long? Not long, (Yes, sir) because “no lie can live forever.” (Yes, sir)
How long? Not long, (All right. How long) because “you shall reap what you sow.” (Yes, sir)”

“How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

The fact that we are still asking that question today, 47 years later, well…!  Rev. King asked, “How Long?”  When others like you ask that question, “Not Long” may be closer than ever.  We can only pray.

Thank you again, Andrew Manis.  Thank you!

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For more on race-ethnic relations search for “Wisconsin Why???” on this site.

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OH(BAMA) WHAT A NIGHT!!!!!

OH WHAT A NIGHT.

Candidate Barack Obama made history in November 2008.  That’s true.  But what President Barack Obama has done in November  2012 is truly historic.  When all is considered, when the story is told, not through the simplistic lens of who won and who lost, America will shudder at revelations revealed by this electoral process, but in the end stand tall in revelry at her ability to stand up against the powerful whose will is, not to live up to the founder’s intent to “form a more perfect union,” but to create a union that “perfectly” suits their purposes.

The Republicans, over the last four years, have used virtually every underhanded tactic imaginable.  They’ve lied, they’ve deceived, they’ve cheated, they’ve attempted to make a mockery of the very process that makes this the greatest country in the world.  They vowed to obstruct the President, and turned around and attempted to blame him for the slow recovery of our economy.  They’ve challenged his birth origin, his citizenship, his legitimacy as President.  They’ve challenged his love of America.  They’ve call him a liar, a Muslim, they’ve refused to acknowledge any of his accomplishments.  Indeed many Republicans, including Romney, have tried to co-op the things he has been able to get done, while at the same time, retreating from their own policies simply because the President embraced them and tried to implement them.  They accused President of “palling around with terrorist,” said that “he has apologized for America around the world,” castigated him for attending a church with a radical preacher (is he Muslim or Baptist?)  They’ve attacked his wife, and family.  They even went after his dog.  They didn’t stop with the kitchen sink, they threw the whole damn kitchen at him and he didn’t flinch.  He didn’t back down.

The amazing thing about this race, is that it was so close.  How, in the face of all the lies, in the face of all the stupid challenges, in the face of all the obstructive tactics by the Republicans, with their attacks on minorities, with their assault on women’s rights, their shifting positions on issues, with their disdain for the LGBT community, their overt attempts to suppress the vote, could anyone have voted for Romney or any of the republicans running for office.  It’s amazing to me.

But, in the end, “Oh what a night.”

I was at the Michigan Democratic Headquarters, in the Grand Ballroom at the MGM Grand Hotel, on election night, and there was, remarkable as it may seem, an air of confidence in the room as I arrived, about 8:30.  Everyone that I spoke with was upbeat, even as the early returns showed the electoral count favoring candidate Romney.  When the polls in the east began to close, the early projections showed the challenger with a 33 to 3 lead, with Romney winning the early vote in the south plus Indiana and the President winning Vermont.  Still I didn’t sense any panic among his supporters.  There was an energy in the calm, though.  There was much on the table with the US Congress elections and several other important down ballot contests and initiatives, that had the attention of the attendee’s.

By 9:00, with more polls beginning to close, more projections had been made.   The President had been projected to win all of New England (except New Hampshire, which soon came on board), Michigan, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia.  But with Romney winning Arkansas and Tennessee, CBS News projected that Romney was leading the President in electoral votes 88 to 78.  With each state projection there were cheers or boos depending on who won or lost, but there was no panic, just an expectation that everything was going to be just fine.

An hour and a half into the evening  you could feel the excitement building inside the room.  A little past 9:30 newly re-elected Congressman John Conyers approached the podium to address the crowd and a raucous cheer erupted in the room.  Conyers, who had faced a primary challenge after being the victim of redistricting by a republican state legislature that moved him from the 14th district to the newly aligned 13th district handily, defeated Republican challenger Harry Sawacki.  (This is another example (alignment of voting districts),  a perfect example, of why elections matter.  Even down ballot.

After a few words the congressman introduced newly re-elected Senator Debbie Stabenow to the crowd.  The crowd went berserk  as the Senator took to the podium.

The Senator, armed with the endorsement of the republican-leaning Michigan Farm bureau, easily defeated republican Pete Hoekstra to return to Washington for a third term.  Hoekstra, if you’ll remember was widely criticized for running a controversial ad that featured an Asian woman talking in broken english about China taking our American jobs.  An ad that even some republicans rebuked as racially tinged and insensitive.  He attempted to brand Sen. Stabenow as the “follower-in-chief” because of her relationship with President Obama, and ran numerous negative ads on TV and the internet as he tried to bring her down, but the Senator stayed strong and positive.  “I am proud that we stuck with our positive message about what we’ve gotten done for Michigan,” said Stabenow.

As we approached 10:00 we had more projections.  Pennsylvania for Obama.  Moments later New Hampshire, Wisconsin (so much for the VP home-state bump), and Minnesota.  The vote was so close at this point that CNN was projecting Romney ahead by 152 -143, NBC projected Obama ahead 158-153, and Fox News Channel had it as a tie 153 electoral votes a piece.

Between 10 and 11:00 Romney picked up Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, Utah and Montana and there was a slight nervousness in the crowd, but that all went away at 11:00 when the west coast polls closed.  Pandemonium broke out in the ballroom when it was announced that California, Washington State, Hawaii, followed by New Mexico and Iowa were going to The President.

The exuberance began to ebb, somewhat, as we became aware that Ohio was pending.  At 11:13 NBC announced that President Obama was going to win Ohio and moments later announced Barack Obama would be re-elected President of the United States.  As you can imagine the excitement, the energy, the anticipation all came together and the ballroom could not contain it all.  It spilled out of the room, down the hallways, throughout the hotel.  It was Christmas and New Years eve all wrapped up in one.

I don’t know about you guys, but I was ready for a cigarette.  What a night!  I wasn’t surprised by the outcome (I had predicted that President Obama would win with 331 electoral votes.  He finished with 332).  As much as I believed in the President, I also believed in the American People.  Yes, the republican party did everything possible to steal this election.  Yes, their candidate flip-flopped all over the place and outright lied about himself and the President.  But America saw through it all and did the right thing.  I wrote in a previous post a thank you to the voters, and I really mean it.  There is much yet do and I believe our President is going to get it done, from completing his healthcare initiative to Wall Street reform.  We are going to have tax and immigration reform.  Hopefully we’ll get campaign finance reform, a change in the way we conduct national elections and a change in the filibuster.  President Obama, not burdened by re-election, can use his executive powers to enact programs if the congress does not.  America is moving forward and the Republicans can’t stop us.  It’s time to get to work.

First though, I’m gonna have that smoke.

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Here’s some more pictures from election night at the MGM Grand Hotel:

Senator Debbie Stabenow greets her supporters

Supreme Court Candidates, (left to right)Connie Kelley, Sheila Johnson and Bridget McCormack.
McCormack was the only winner.

EVENT ATTENDEES:

CONGRATULATIONS PENNSYLVANIA!!!!!

Congratulations Pennsylvania!

“Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, Mighty is your name,

Steeped in glory and tradition, Object of acclaim.

Where brave men fought the foe of freedom, Tyranny decried,

Til the bell of independence filled the countryside.”

I’m singing your praises Pennsylvania.  What needed to be done, has been.  Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson has blocked implementation of the Voter Photo ID Law until after the election.  Now, while the move by the court only delays this law until after this years election, we will now see if there was ever any reason beyond preventing President Obama’s reelection for this law to be in place.

We will see if voter fraud was a problem or if this was, simply, a fraudulent attempt to suppress votes.  My guess is [it was] the later.

This in fact may be the most telling part of this entire charade.  And when I say telling I mean that it was them, the republicans, doing the telling.  On June 23, 2012 State House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R) stated:

  • “Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done.”
  • “First pro-life legislation – abortion facility regulations – in 22 years, done.”
  • “Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”

Since the 1960’s, there has not been a more blatant attack on America’s civil rights, indeed, an attack of the most basic right of our society, the right to vote.

This is not just about Pennsylvania, though.  Their’s was the most restrictive of many such laws passed in more than 30 states over the last few years.  Some have been struck down by the Voting Rights Act (that’s come under fire lately), and others by Local and State courts that have determined that the laws were an unnecessary intrusion on our voter franchise.

My guess is, though, this is not just a one shot deal.  Most of this talk about in-person voter ID fraud will quietly dissipate, but it won’t disappear.  Voter suppression and manipulation is as important down-ticket, at the State and Local level, as it is nationally.  What this process has shown us is that State Houses, State Legislatures, and locally elected Judges play as much a part in this scenario as the National ticket.  We must be aware, and beware.  The war continues.

It is in the local courts where laws are being upheld that are restricting or eliminating more of our basic freedoms. Like freedom of choice for women, freedom to choose who to marry, freedom to bargain collectively.  Even the right to be governed by our lawfully elected officials is being challenged.  State Legislatures are realigning voting districts to dilute the power of constituency voting.

So the war is not yet won.  The battlefield has shifted. Diligence and determination are the weapons with which we must arm ourselves, as we continue moving “Forward.

So, congratulations Pennsylvania.  A battle won, but the war goes on.

“Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, May your future be,

filled with honor everlasting as your history.”

DEBATE or DE(THE)BAIT

Looking forward to Wednesday’s debate between President Obama and candidate Romney, I began to wonder, can the President lose or can the candidate win?  The only way, I believe that the President can lose is if he takes the bait, and get’s drawn into a lot of tangential hypothetical’s.  You know, the could’ve, would’ve, or should’ve(s).

The common wisdom on the right is that President Obama can not run on his record.  What they are counting on is that the vilification of his accomplishments and his efforts to improve life in these United States has worked, or is working.  I don’t believe that it has, or will.

As more and more of his policies roll out, policies that were, in many cases delayed or watered down by a congress committed to bring him down, the American people are seeing the benefits of Obama’s presidency.  With the Affordable Care Act, Financial Reform, Workplace Equality, the ending of the War in Iraq, the killing of Osama bin-Ladin, the decimation of Al-Qaeda, the fall of Khaddafi, and [of] Mubarak, the drawing down of the War in Afghanistan, the Auto Bailout, and perhaps the most important, The American Recovery Act, without which the country, as we know it, would not have survived, there is much the American people and the President can point to with pride.

When all of this is considered, along with the fact that the Republican leadership, including House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Senate Minority Leader McConnell,  and the entire Tea Party caucus, have walked lock-step in their attempt to defeat his efforts even at the expense of America’s recovery, these accomplishments seem all the more remarkable.

This is, though, where the potential problems may arise.  The president does not need to oversell his accomplishments, though there may be some temptation to do so.  The risk is to become the “I” candidate.  The president has been careful, over his time in office, to encourage the American people to become more involved, more vocal, and it has worked.  Much of what he has been able to do has come as a consequence of an energetic, involved, citizenry.  If he is baited into defending or overselling what he has done, he risks turning off the support his accomplishments have garnered.

The other trap, would be to be baited into ascribing  motive’s  to the constant stream of misrepresentations, distortions, and outright lies coming from his opponents on the right.  To play the victim.  He should let “them” explain their motives.  The American people see them for what they are (lies).  They also know who is telling them.   These are not just lies “about” him, they are lies “to” the American people.  I believe we (the people) are smart enough to realize that.

Now, I know I haven’t mentioned how it may be possible for candidate Romney to win.  Well that’s the truth.  I mean, “the truth” is the reason that Romney can’t win.  If he tells the truth, the American people see him for who he really is.  If he doesn’t, well, the American people will see him for who he really is.  Either way he can’t win.  This first debate will, rightfully, include discussions about the candidate’s campaign, the republican convention, his ill-timed misstatements about the events in Libya, and definitely about his 47% comments.  I can’t wait to hear his responses.

This is President Obama’s debate to win.  As long as he doesn’t take the “bait.”

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