At the Right Conference this time…

Promoted by Jason Springer: Glad you’re there Joey and look forward to hearing more about what’s going on at the conference.

The last two political conferences I went to were the Americans for Prosperity national conference in Pittsburgh–and then the Americans for Prosperity conference in New Jersey last March. As a fat, old, bearded guy–I think I fit in very well with the right wing folks–and that enables me to walk amongst them, eat with them, and ask them questions about their politics. In a way, I feel inspired by Dian Fossey and her experience with the gorillas of Rwanda. She ate with them, walked amongst them, and watch them mate —for more than a year to get a sense of what they were like. You probably saw the movie Gorillas in the Mist. Well, I tried to do everything she did–except watch the right wing mate. But now, I feel more at home.

I drove down from New Jersey this morning to Washington DC to attend the Take Back America conference, which is a gathering of 800 or so progressives–and there is quite a difference from when this group gathered in 2008. Back then, we had a president who strongly favored offshore oil drilling, we were entrenched in a quagmire both in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Americans were very upset about the bailing of the financial industry.. But today, things are different: we have a president who favors offshore oil drilling, we are entrenched in a quagmire both in Iraq and Afghanistan and more Americans are more upset about bailing out of the financial industry. So, for progressives the more things change the more they remain the same.

At this conference, the “Take Back America” was subtitled “The America’s Future Now! Conference.”

Now, with a president who was selected on a progressive platform, the issue for most of the people here was: How do you hold the Democrats and Pres. Obama accountable for the platform that helped him get elected? Especially in an environment with a bad economy and Tea Party people ready to vote all incumbents out of office?

That seems to be the big question that everyone here will be trying to answer over the next 2 1/2 days.  

Comments (10)

  1. deciminyan


    Thanks for your reporting.  Unfortunately, the “progressive” president we have worked for has turned out to be the wimp-in-chief

  2. Nick Lento

    ….the establishment of the Democratic party sold it back to the the corporatists.

    The establishment of the Democratic party used the rhetoric of populism that was so eloquently and passionate voiced at the TBA conferences.  (I attended three of them) and stabbed progressives in the back by refusing to actually IMPLEMENT the legislation and principles that were fought for using the energy and money of ordinary working people.

    I remain optimistic for the future.   Now TBA would be RENAMED and REPURPOSED to TBDP….that’s Take Back the Democratic Party!!!

    Unless our party is TAKEN over by grass roots progressives it will CONTINUE TO LOSE elections that we should have won.

    We should have kicked Christie’s ass in NJ and we should have held Ted Kennedy’s seat in MA.   Without a heart even a big muscular body will collapse….and the progressive movement is the heart of our party……as weak as that movement is… is the soul of our party!!!

    I couldn’t afford to go to this years conference so I hope you can blog a bit about how it’s going!   Thanks!!!

  3. Nora's Tea Party

    Hi Joey,

    I think your problem is the assumption that the “progressive platform” you have in mind is not what the voters were thinking when they elected Obama.

    I think Americans voted for him more because he was black than anything he actually PLANNED to do.   We’re kindly folk at heart and a bunch willing to give the “new kid” a chance.

    Americans hoped for something different and simply got more of the same.    We’re tired of the  the big dogs (blue & red) constantly engaging in a pit fight and Obama’s promise was to end that type of politics.

    Nice promise… unfulfilled.   And everyone just lined up on party lines and continued the head butting contest.

    Good ideas come out of both parties.  But what we independent’s see is that if the Republicans come up with a good idea.. (interstate insurance access, allowing small businesses to group together in an insurance pool, etc.)  the first thing the Dem’s do is shut them out.

    So, the “incumbents” are just playing politics as usual and we’re pretty sick of it.   Seeing as we independents are the ones who PUT Obama in office, it’s our job to fix our mistake by giving the  boot to those who supported policies we don’t like.

    That’s the American way.    And, you do your Blue-Dog no good in our eyes when you call the Red-Dog names (Gorillas?) as it makes you look small.  

    We’er against the government running our lives and against the unions blackmailing our industries out of this country, and our school boards into giving away more than we tax payers can afford.

    Paying over $500/month to the government for the right to live in our own homes is beyond the pale.   We need it fixed.   Will you Blue-Dogs fix it for us?

    All I’ve seen (and point me to another site if you know of one) is the Democrats wanting more government, trying to get rid of the secrecy of the ballot box, and supporting the unions that want more money out of the tax payer (who is broke).

    How is your party going to help us?  WITHOUT raising taxes on ANYONE, rich or poor?  

  4. denniscmcgrath

    “I think Americans voted for him more because he was black”

    arrant bullshit. and not supported by the polls. and more proof positive that the teabaggers primary problem is that the sheriff is a (fill in the blank).

  5. tabbycat31

    Do you happen to have a credit card?  Because it used to be that states could regulate credit cards, then when credit cards were allowed to be sold across state lines, they all headquartered in Delaware and South Dakota (check the return address next time you get your statement), the two states with the least regulation of industry.  If health insurance were sold across state lines, I could see the health insurance industry mirroring the credit card industry.

    Last time I checked taxes were used to pay for services.  Don’t want to pay taxes, then don’t use the socialist police department, fire department, public schools (even if you don’t have kids, a good public school system increases your property value), or public parks.  Don’t drive on our socialist roads.  If explained that taxes are the dues we pay to live in a civilized society, most Americans have no problems paying them.  If you don’t want to pay taxes and want less government, I would suggest moving to Somalia which has no government.

    I guess you also fail to realize that unions are a good thing for society.  Remember the recent mining disaster in West Virginia?  Well had that mine been unionized, the union would have fought for higher safety standards which would have saved 27 lives.  And union bosses are democratically elected by the employees as opposed to corporate bosses which are elected by the board of directors.  Unions increase wages, safety standards, and working conditions for employees.  And if wages increase then tax revenue increases.  

    How is the GOP going to help us?  They were in charge for 8 years and under their watch we had the largest terrorist attack on US soil, two wars that were paid for using the nation’s Visa card, and the worst deficit in history.  Now you guys are turning around and blaming Obama on Bush’s problems.  Nice try teabagger.

  6. Nora's Tea Party

    Dennis…  As someone who was discriminated against, as all women were (are?), I feel great sympathy for other minorities.   American’s have a history of rooting for the underdog so it is logical that a good % of voters DID vote for Obama to give the minorities a chance in the spotlight.  

    I think we’re a pretty cool country for doing so.  But I don’t understand the sheriff reference????


  7. Nora's Tea Party

    Without a doubt unions major value to us all is one of safety for the workers.   BUT back in the day there was no OSHA or M-OSHA for the mines.  There was no labor law, discrimination laws, etc.

    Any employee of any outfit, union or non, can report safety violations to these safety dept..   Unions will always exist, and that’s not a bad thing.  The bad thing is when a specific union gets too greedy, are infiltrated by the corrupt, or cease to consider the welfare of the company that pays them and simply  engage in collective blackmail..

    Not every union does these “bad things”, but you cannot deny some are less than on the up and up.   The bad apples taint the whole concept.   So reforms of some sort are needed.

    I sure don’t know exactly what they should be, but I do know the public is fed up with all the graft, corruption, and unions buying politicians to get sweet contract deals.   There is a balance somewhere…  right now we’er out of balance.

    Health insurance sales across state lines would have benefits and risks.   EVERYTHING has benefits and risk.   When the benefits outweigh the risks you go with it.

    More choice of health care providers would provide significant benefits to the public and small businesses.  That is a good thing.  

    Neither the States nor the Feds should be able to dictate to an insurance company what product they offer.  If one company wants to offer ONLY accident coverage, fine.   If one wants to offer only major surgery coverage, fine.

    If I was 20 I’d just want the catastrophic coverage.   As I’m 60ish I need a better policy, and it will cost me more.   But if I didn’t have lots of bucks and was pretty healthy I might ACCEPT THE RISK and go with catastrophic only.

    Point is it’s MY choice, not the governments.  That is what ALL the arguments are about, freedom to make decisions without someone holding a gun to your head, govt or union.

    Regulations exist, and should exist, on businesses.  Safety for customers, making sure what they advertise is what the customer gets, and clarity in the information customers get so they can understand their benefits.

    When insurance companies are free of State manipulation, rates will drop for everyone.  For those who cannot get a policy in the public section… THAT is where the govt should have one public policy, which they bid out to private insurance companies to manage, and rebid the thing every 5 or so years.

    No reason for government workers to ADMINISTER health care.  They can just pay the premium’s for those who can’t afford it.  Then the ins co watches costs, and the Govt watches the ins co to make sure they are providing the services the policy dictates..

    Checks and balances.  With government ADMINISTERED insurance there are not checks and balances, hence fraud, and runaway costs.  

  8. tabbycat31

    I suggest you educate yourself on the bill first, and please for everyone’s sake anyone affiliated with Fox News is not a legitimate source.  You might as well be quoting the Drudge Report.  

    I personally wish that the government WOULD administer healthcare.  There was a lot left out of the healthcare bill that I wish Uncle Sam would take a look at (such as the unnecessary $$ that the industry spends on advertising).  Personally if I need a prescription drug, I want my doctor to tell me what drugs are right for me, not an ad on TV.  I know of a doctor who wound up retiring because of the way the commercials for drugs changed the way medicine was practiced.  People no longer trusted his judgment.

    And government can often do things cheaper than the private sector can.  In New Jersey, the head honcho of the state makes a salary of 175K.  A corporate CEO makes that in a month or less.  Government also does not have to pay for shareholder dividends, etc.  

    I currently am uninsured because I am between jobs (although I start early next month) and have aged off my parents plan (even under the new law).  I had government health care for the first 22 years of my life and I would love to go back to it.  My parents have low copays for everything and have never had any issues with their insurance (they’re in their early 60s).  They’re both public employees (not in NJ) who took a lower salary to work for the government.  

    As for state lines, again look at the precedent set by the credit card industry.  I am not old enough to have had a credit card before this law went into effect, but Delaware and South Dakota allow the CC companies to charge rates that the Mafia is envious of.  Other states do not so they headquartered in Delaware and South Dakota.  What you are essentially calling for is for the health insurance industry to not have any rules to play by.  It’s human nature to not play by the rules and it’s the government’s job (federal and state) to enforce the rules.  

    The government needs to provide the checks and balances on private industry.  OTherwise you would have Somalia (a Libertarian’s paradise)

  9. William Weber (WjcW)

    Blazing Saddles

    nuff said.

  10. Nora's Tea Party

    I don’t watch much TV and have never read a Drudge report.    I have to agree with you about the annoyance level of the TV commercials for medication.

    BUT… annoying as they are, those commercials do have a public benefit.  They inform people of symptoms they may have and encourage early testing, they also let people know there are things that can be done for an ailment.  Additionally, they reassure people they are not along.  

    I have RLS, which I never even knew had a name  before the commercials came out.  So, the information they provide is beneficial.  

    And, no, I am not saying the insurance industry should be unregulated.   If people don’t like the credit card companies rates they can go shopping for another company or cut them up.  The companies with the highest rates will loose business to the lower rates, ie: the market balances itself.  No one is obligated to have a credit card.

    The same will apply for health insurance.  When companies are free to offer policies in head to head competition our RATES will go down.  If one company misbehaves, watch dog groups will rat them out and they loose business to better companies..  ie: the market balances itself.

    The govt should WATCH the insurance co’s to ensure they are functioning with honor, but they should not ADMINISTER them.

    It does not matter if a CEO makes lots and a govt worker makes less, what matters is the OVERALL cost.   Government plans cost us more overall in the tax burden.

    You being between jobs and without health care may actually agree with me on one thing.  I have never understood why businesses are the plan holders.  

    When we are free to form any health care pool of individuals, like small mom and pop shops banding together, or a community, or a social group, then we’ll be able to put larger buying groups together which drives down rates.

    Why can’t 3 or 4 municipalities form a health care group AND open it up to residents as well as workers???  

    Freedom is the answer, not strict controls.   That is the philosophic difference people have and it does not come from FOX or any other group (left or right).   It comes from the hearts of the people.


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